HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2012-15 offering ways public housing agencies (PHAs) could reduce voucher administration costs. Because of the FY12 appropriations act, HUD anticipates that PHAs will receive “approximately 75%” of the funds needed to administer their Housing Choice Voucher programs. Therefore, HUD offers 14 suggestions for PHAs to consider as means to cut administration costs. The cost-saving measures presented are not mandatory.
Advocates should be aware of the HUD-suggested cost cutting measures and be alert to others that PHAs might consider. Advocates might oppose some ideas in the notice. For example, HUD suggests allowing an owner to certify that Housing Quality Standard deficiencies have been corrected, rather than having the PHA staff re-inspect a unit. Another HUD suggestion that advocates might find harmful is eliminating local preferences for the selection of households to receive available vouchers.
On the other hand, advocates might urge PHAs to adopt some of the ideas in the notice. For instance, HUD notes that PHAs might consider eliminating interim income increase reexaminations. PHAs could decide to only require households to report income increases at the required annual reexamination. Alternatively, PHAs might only require an interim income increase above a certain amount; the notice uses as an example an increase greater than $5,000.
Advocates should note that the notice reminds PHAs that some changes might constitute a significant amendment to the PHA Plan, thus triggering Resident Advisory Board and public notice and comment and hearing requirements. Because PHAs are allowed to define what a significant amendment is, advocates should be alert to harmful changes and argue that a harmful change is a significant amendment.
PIH Notice 2012-15 is at: http://nlihc.org/doc/HCV_PIH_Notice_2012-15.pdf