HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted clarification of its practice regarding acceptance of a public housing agency’s (PHA’s) application to demolish public housing units or to dispose of them through sale or conversion. Although there is nothing officially new in the posting, it is a positive response to problems raised by the Housing Justice Network (HJN), an informal network of legal services and affordable housing advocates that includes NLIHC.
Public housing residents at various locations have been asked by their PHAs to support demolition/disposition proposals without seeing an application, or after seeing an application containing little meaningful information. In some cases, PHAs did not treat demolition/disposition applications as “significant amendments” to the PHA Plan, thereby evading the requirement to notify residents that there is a demolition/disposition proposal available for review and comment, and that there will be a public hearing about it.
The new posting states that, prior to submitting a public housing demolition or disposition application, a PHA must ensure that the application is complete, including all information and documentation required by regulation and Form HUD-52860. The posting emphasizes that HUD’s Special Application Center (SAC) will not process an application that it finds substantially incomplete or that does not adequately address 16 specific regulatory items. The first item listed that could cause rejection is that the proposed demolition or disposition is not in the approved PHA Plan or is not a significant amendment to the PHA Plan.
If a PHA submits an application that is substantially incomplete or deficient, SAC will stop the review and HUD will disapprove the application, not allowing resubmission. However, a PHA may submit a new application for the same proposed demolition or disposition if the original deficiency is corrected and the PHA has consulted residents groups.
As required by the regulations, HUD may disapprove a complete application if it was not developed in consultation with residents or if it is clearly inconsistent with the PHA Plan or any information and data available to HUD, such as information furnished by residents.
This summer, HJN members met with Assistant Secretary for PIH Sandra Henriquez and other key staff, raising many concerns regarding demolition and disposition. Assistant Secretary Henriquez indicated agreement with the advocates on a number of issues. PIH is drafting changes to the demolition/disposition regulations, which could address some of the concerns. Advocates suggested HUD issue a formal PIH policy notice regarding non-controversial items so that problems could be dealt with more quickly, acknowledging the time-consuming nature of the regulatory review and comment process. The new web posting accelerates the application clarification process, in advance of the anticipated PIH notice.
The clarifying posting is on the PIH demolition/disposition webpage at