HUD has created a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to clarify various features of the final HOME regulations. Six of the 16 topics cover Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Seven pertain to homebuyer programs, and there is one each for homeowner rehab, rental housing, and tenant based rental assistance (TBRA).
Two of the FAQs address utility allowances. Regarding rental housing, one FAQ addresses the requirement that Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) either use the HUD Utility Schedule Model or determine a project’s utility allowance based on utility use at a project. The FAQ also announces that HUD is making a technical correction to the final HOME rule that will delay the effective date of this provision until January 24, 2015. HUD plans to issue further guidance regarding other models for determining a project’s annual utility allowance.
Another FAQ clarifies that the utility allowance requirement does not apply to TBRA. However, HUD notes that PJs administering a TBRA program must establish a payment standard that represents the rent plus utility cost of moderately priced units meeting HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS). Therefore, when tenants pay their own utilities, a PJ must establish a utility allowance amount that is deducted from a tenants’ rent payment to the owner. Because public housing agencies (PHAs) often administer a PJ’s TBRA program, the HOME Program allows PJs to use PHA utility allowance schedules for HOME TBRA. A PJ may also use other HUD-approved methodologies to establish utility allowances for HOME TBRA.
The Office of Affordable Housing Programs plans to periodically add to the FAQ, as well as issue a number of new or updated CPD notices. Also in the works are new training courses, including training for CHDOs, scheduled to rollout in late February or early March.
The HOME FAQs can be found on the OneCPD website, not the HOME webpage, at: https://www.onecpd.info/resource/3318/home-faqs