The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) law requires states to designate a housing finance agency, housing and community development entity, tribally designated housing entity, or any other qualified instrument of the state to receive NHTF dollars from HUD.
Since creation of the NHTF in 2008, many states have designated a state agency. Although states may have made a designation years ago, and even informed HUD prior to publication of the interim NHTF regulation on January 30, 2015, those states must now submit formal notification to the HUD Secretary. Since 2009, NLIHC has been compiling a list of states that have indicated which agency the governor or legislature has designated. The list is based on either state staff communicating with NLIHC, or an NLIHC State Coalition partner relaying such information. NLIHC’s unofficial list is at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/State-Agencies_2015.pdf.
Advocates in states that had already designated a state agency should contact that agency to make sure the state is aware of instructions issued by HUD on February 13, posted as a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) item on HUD Exchange. That FAQ echoes the interim regulation to require a state to provide HUD written notice of its intention of becoming a NHTF grantee for the first year of NHTF funding. States have 30 calendar days after HUD publishes the amount of NHTF dollars each is to receive, anticipated to be in April 2016, to make the notification.
That FAQ also says that HUD requires a state to inform HUD of the name and contact information of the state department/agency or state-designated entity (SDE) that will administer the NHTF program (see Memo, 2/17). A copy of the designation must be included in the notice to HUD.
The NHTF regulation provides that a state may choose to be the NHTF grantee to receive and administer its grant, or it may choose a qualified state-designated entity to be the NHTF grantee. The regulation defines a “state-designated entity” as a state housing finance agency, tribally designated housing entity, or any qualified instrumentality of the state that is designated by the state to be the grantee.
Although states have until next year to notify HUD of a designation, HUD encourages states to make the designation early in order to facilitate guidance and training from HUD. NLIHC urges advocates to work with their state to make an early designation so that the agency has time to prepare the required Allocation Plan. The Allocation Plan must describe how the state will distribute its NHTF dollars, the requirements applicants for NHTF dollars must meet, and the criteria the state will use for giving priority to applications for NHTF dollars. The state must follow the Consolidated Plan public participation rules when preparing the Allocation Plan.
Advocates in states that have yet to designate a NHTF entity are urged to work with their governor or state legislature to ensure that the entity most attuned to the rental housing needs of extremely low income households is chosen at the NHTF entity.
States may submit the notification at any time prior to the deadline. The notification must be sent to:
The Honorable Julián Castro
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Although not stated in the FAQ, an email between a state entity and HUD Headquarters makes it clear that either the governor or state legislature (depending on state law) must submit the official notification. In other words, it is not sufficient for the director of a state agency to submit the notification.
The FAQ is at https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/4420/htf-faqs
HUD intends to post a list of state designated agencies soon. The list will be posted on the NHTF page of HUD Exchange, https://www.hudexchange.info/htf
More about the NHTF is at www.nhtf.org