HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued a notification of the new PHA Plan templates through Notice PIH-2015-15 dated October 23, 2015. Instead of the single, unified Annual PHA Plan template used by all PHAs, HUD has issued four types of Annual PHA Plan templates to be used for different categories of PHAs. These templates include several modest improvements over the streamlined PHA Plan in use since November 2008, but overall still are less helpful for residents and advocates than the pre-2008 template
All PHAs must develop 5-Year PHA Plans that describe their overall mission and goals. PHAs with 550 or more public housing and/or voucher units must also develop an Annual PHA Plan, which is a compilation of a PHA’s key policies (such as those relating to admissions, income targeting, rents, or pets) and program intentions (such as demolition or disposition).
The new Annual PHA Plan templates are:
- HUD-50075-ST for Standard PHAs and Troubled PHAs. A Standard PHA owns or manages 250 or more public housing units and any number of vouchers, for a combined total of more than 550, and the PHA was designated “standard” in its most recent assessments for the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP). A Troubled PHA has an overall PHAS or SEMAP Score of less than 60%.
- HUD-50075-HP for High Performer PHAs. A High-Performer PHA owns or manages any number of public housing units and any number of vouchers, for a combined total of more than 550, and the PHA was designated “high performer” in its most recent assessments for PHAS and SEMAP.
- HUD-50075-SM for Small PHAs. A Small PHA owns or manages fewer than 250 public housing units and any number of vouchers, for a combined total of more than 550, and the PHA was not designated as troubled in the most recent PHAS or SEMAP assessment, or at risk of being designated as troubled.
- HUD-50075-HCV for HCV Only PHAs. A Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Only PHA does not own or operate any public housing units, but does administer more than 550 vouchers, and the PHA was not designated as troubled in its most recent SEMAP assessment.
A Qualified PHA is one that owns or manages 550 or fewer public housing units and/or vouchers combined; and was not designated as “Troubled” in the most recent PHAS assessment or as having a failing SEMAP score during the prior 12 months. Qualified PHAs are not required to complete and submit an Annual PHA Plan. However, Qualified PHAs must submit a 5-Year PHA Plan.
Previously, the PHA Plan template for the 5-Year PHA Plan and the Annual Plan were the same. Notice PIH-2015-15 introduces a separate template for the 5-Year PHA Plan to be used by all PHAs.
Several modifications to the Annual PHA Plan templates are improvements over the 2008 templates. Each of the new templates state that a proposed PHA Plan, each of the statutorily required PHA Plan elements, and all information relevant to the public hearing and proposed PHA Plan must be available to the public. The new templates must also indicate where the public can access the information. At a minimum, PHAs are required to post PHA Plan templates at each public housing development, known as an Asset Management Project (AMP), and at the PHA’s main office. PHAs are encouraged to post PHA Plans on their official websites and provide copies to resident councils. Notice PIH-2015-15 adds that the approved PHA Plan and required attachments and documents related to the PHA Plan must be made available for review and inspection at the principal office of the PHA during normal business hours.
In a section titled, “Revision of PHA Plan Elements,” the template for Standard/Troubled PHAs lists key statutorily required PHA Plan elements (for example, rent determination policies or grievance procedures), with boxes to indicate whether a change has been made. This modification gives residents a clear idea about what some of the required elements are. Without listing them, the 2008 template merely directed PHAs to identify any elements that were revised during the year. The new template also directs PHAs to describe any revisions.
The Standard/Troubled PHA Plan template is also improved by creating a “New Activities” section for a PHA to indicate whether or not it intends to undertake a new activity, such as project-basing vouchers, to convert public housing units under the Rental Assistance Demonstration, or to undertake a mixed finance project. Any new activities must be described.
The revised template requires PHAs to include any comments received from the Resident Advisory Board (RAB), along with the PHA’s analysis of the RAB comments as well as a description of the PHA’s decision regarding RAB comments.
A change highlighted in Notice PIH-2015-15 is that the template incorporates descriptions of the PHA’s policies or programs to enable a PHA to serve the needs of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in accord with requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). However, the body of the templates do not mention VAWA-related information. Only by reading the instructions regarding any revision to a PHA Plan’s statutorily required elements and then carefully examining the last half of the entry pertaining to “Safety and Crime Prevention” does one detect VAWA-related language.
The 2008 template required PHAs to submit as an attachment to the PHA Plan, any challenge to one of the statutorily required PHA Plan elements. The regulations call for HUD to review any such challenge. While Notice PIH-2015-15 acknowledges this aspect of the regulations, it removes from the new template the requirement to submit any challenge. HUD writes that it will consider incorporating the requirement in the future.
Notice PIH-2015-15 and the new templates are at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/pha