HUD’s Notice PIH 2013-15 provides strategies public housing agencies (PHAs) can use to make homes available for homeless individuals and families. HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) states in the June 10 notice that PHAs’ greatest tool for addressing homelessness is an admission preference for homeless people.
Preferences must be based on local housing needs and priorities arrived at by using accepted data and information obtained through the PHA Plan public comment process. PIH encourages PHAs to work with Continuums of Care (CoCs) as well as others when establishing homeless preferences. Preferences must be clearly presented in the PHA public housing Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) and voucher Administrative Plan.
PHAs may create a preference for people who are referred by partnering homeless service organizations. PHAs may also have a preference for formerly homeless people transitioning from Permanent Supportive Housing. Homeless people may be required to document that they qualify for a homeless preference, or PHAs may rely on a partnering homeless service organization to verify eligibility for a homeless preference.
Regarding waiting list management, the notice indicates that once an adequate number of people with a homelessness preference are on the waiting list, PHAs may close the list. PHAs may leave a waiting list open for homeless people while keeping the waiting list closed for all others.
The notice reminds PHAs that households cannot be admitted to public housing or obtain a voucher if someone in the household:
- Is subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement.
- Is using illegal drugs, or because of the abuse of drugs or alcohol, poses a threat to the health and safety of other residents.
- Was convicted of making methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing.
- Was evicted from federally assisted housing for drug-related criminal activity. However, re-admission is permissible three years after eviction.
Except for the four statutory prohibitions, PHAs have discretion regarding admissions. The notice reminds PHAs of Secretary Donovan’s letter from June 2011, encouraging more flexible admissions policies for people re-entering communities following incarceration. However, flexibility cannot be limited to a specific population, such as homeless people; rather, admissions policies must apply to all.
Notice PIH 2013-15 notes that PHAs may only terminate someone’s assistance or evict them if there are serious or repeated violations of significant lease terms. HUD recommends that PHAs work with homeless service providers to establish discretionary termination and eviction policies and to develop partnerships that can carry out eviction prevention strategies.
HUD reminds PHAs that they should consider various factors before denying admission or terminating assistance. For example, PHAs may assess the seriousness of a situation, the extent individual family members participated in a situation, or the impact of denial or termination on other family members not involved in an action. In addition, PHAs may consider evidence of rehabilitation or willingness to participate in social services.
View PIH Notice 2013-15 at: http://1.usa.gov/1afx3VY