Each year, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issues a notice describing how PIH will implement the Housing Choice Voucher program reflecting appropriations set-asides and any Congressional program requirements. Notice PIH 2015-03, issued on February 27, discusses the FY15 voucher appropriations.
Notice PIH 2015-03 contains a notable difference pertaining to the $130 million appropriation for Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs). The FY15 Appropriations Act has a new provision prohibiting public housing agencies (PHAs) from reissuing a TPV after a family that initially received the voucher no longer needs the voucher, unless the TPV is one HUD defines as a “replacement” voucher. The Notice defines and offers examples of “replacement” and “relocation” vouchers.
TPVs are provided to low income residents of project-based HUD-assisted housing when there is a change in the status of their assisted housing that will cause residents to lose their homes (for example, public housing demolition) or render their home unaffordable (for example, a private owner “opting out” of a Section 8 contract). HUD calls such changes “housing conversion actions.”
Not only do TPVs help residents, but they also maintain the number of HUD-assisted units in a community. For example, if a PHA demolishes 100 public housing units, 100 TPVs are issued to protect the households who occupied those units. Those 100 TPVs become a permanent part of the PHA’s voucher program and are reissued to future households when the initial household no longer needs it. One hundred public housing units might be lost, but 100 TPVs remain in the community.
Under certain HUD programs, conversion actions do not result in the permanent loss of assisted units to the community. For example, in some instances of public housing demolition, a household is relocated temporarily and is able to return to the redeveloped project. Another example in the private, HUD-assisted multifamily portfolio is a transfer of project-based assistance from one property to another under the Section 8(bb) program (see Memo, 10/20/14). In these situations, HUD-assisted housing is not lost to the community. Therefore, HUD is defining these TPVs as “relocation” TPVs. Such TPVs are temporary resources intended to assist households affected by the conversion action until the property is redeveloped or the project-based assistance is transferred to the alternate property.
In short, replacement TPVs are provided when a conversion action reduces the number of HUD-assisted units in a community, and relocation TPVs are provided when a conversion action does not reduce the number of HUD-assisted units in a community.
As in recent years, the FY15 Appropriations Act limits the use of replacement TPVs for units occupied within the previous 24 months. Notice PIH 2015-03 echoes previous years’ notices, stating that the number of TPVs that HUD approves might be less than the number of units occupied during the previous 24 months. Citing limited funding, HUD continues to cap the number of TPVs (both replacement and relocation TPVs) to the number of units occupied at the time of the conversion action. For instance, the triggering event in a public housing context is when a PHA submits a TPV application to HUD, which may not occur until after HUD has approved a demolition. This decision by HUD could result in some households not receiving TPVs because they were not adequately informed by their PHA of the availability of TPVs and decided to move when the PHA began discussing the possibility of demolition. HUD’s decision to limit replacement TPVs to occupied units also diminishes the intent of TPVs to maintain the net number of HUD-assisted units in a community. However, the Notice indicates that if there is funding available, HUD will provide TPVs for vacant units.
Notice PIH 2015-03 is at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIH2015-03FundImpNtce22015.pdf
More information about tenant protection vouchers is on page 4-50 of NLIHC’s 2015 Advocates’ Guide. at http://nlihc.org/library/guides.