On July 11, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a proposed rule that would create an additional type of consortium for public housing agencies (PHAs). The proposal would allow two or more PHAs to join to carry out the planning, reporting, and other administrative and management functions of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This new type of consortium would be called a “single-Annual Contributions Contract consortium,” or “single-ACC consortium.” An ACC is the contract between HUD and a PHA setting out the terms and conditions under which HUD funds the PHA. The single-ACC consortium would become a separate legal entity, considered a single PHA with a single jurisdiction and a single set of reporting requirements for the purpose of the HCV program.
The proposed rule states two primary goals for single-ACC consortia: increased administrative efficiency and increased resident choice in locating housing in a broader geographic area, without the administrative burden entailed when a resident seeks to move from one PHA jurisdiction to another, known as voucher portability.
As proposed, a single-ACC consortium’s jurisdiction would include the jurisdictions of each of its member PHAs. Jurisdiction boundaries between members would no longer exist. A consortium would be required to prepare and submit a single 5-Year PHA Plan and Annual Plans. That PHA Plan must establish a single set of policies. Individual PHAs would not be required to also submit individual PHA Plans.
HUD anticipates greater administrative efficiency because there would be one set of reporting and audit requirements, consolidated operations, a centralized waiting list, and a single set of policies and procedures. According to the preamble, PHAs could choose to form a consortium advisory board or other mechanisms to provide for a greater level of local control.
The proposed rule requires PHAs to remain in a consortium for at least five years. After that period, a PHA could decide to withdraw from the consortium, or the consortium could choose to dissolve.
PHAs participating in the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration are not allowed to form or join a consortium.
Section 13 of the Housing Act of 1937 was amended by the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 to allow consortia for the purpose of administering any or all of the housing programs of the PHAs in the consortium. However, the regulations (24 CFR part 943) did not provide for single-ACC consortia. The proposed rule reflects HUD’s existing authority to establish this new category of consortium designed to solely administer the HCV program.
A “multiple-ACC consortium” is already allowed. This type of consortium is made up of two or more PHAs that join together and select a lead PHA to carry out planning, reporting, and other administrative functions for member PHAs. Multiple-ACC consortia may administer the public housing program as well as the HCV program. The consortium submits a joint 5-Year PHA Plan and joint Annual Plans that apply to all member PHAs. Each member PHA in a multiple-ACC consortium retains its own ACC, has its own jurisdiction, and continues to operate in their own jurisdiction. Member PHAs may enter into memoranda of understanding to operate within the jurisdictions of other member PHAs.
The FY14 Appropriations Act amended the definition of “public housing agency” to include in the general definition, “a consortium of such entities or bodies as approved by the Secretary” (see Memo, 6/27). According to the preamble to the proposed rule, this new language gives HUD the opportunity to extend single-ACC consortia beyond the HCV program. However, the proposed rule would only apply to the HCV program. The preamble states that HUD plans future revisions to the regulations to allow single-ACC consortia to other PIH programs.
NLIHC has long supported the use of consortia to administer the voucher program for both improved service to applicants and greater efficiency in operating the program.
Comments are due September 9, 2014.
The proposed rule is at: http://1.usa.gov/1mOjO5n