Committee Chair Waters and Representatives Tlaib and Pressley Urge HUD to Listen to Tenant Concerns as Part of NSPIRE Demonstration

House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson on November 18 urging HUD to better incorporate tenant perspectives in the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) demonstration.

NSPIRE is a reexamination of HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) physical inspection protocol intended to explore ways to better reflect the quality of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted properties (see Memo, 8/26). The letter notes that the NSPIRE demonstration is a recognition that the current 20-year-old assessment protocol focuses more on “curb appeal” than in-unit health and safety issues. Although Representatives Waters, Tlaib, and Pressley express appreciation for HUD’s efforts to improve the previous model, they claim HUD is not following through on their promise to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders (see Memo, 2/25). The letter notes that HUD has spoken only to HUD officials, public housing agencies, and property owners and agents, leaving tenants out of the discussion altogether.

The representatives emphasize that resident participation is critical for the proper maintenance of assisted properties. They note that resident feedback during the inspection protocol can provide a more accurate assessment of the physical condition of these properties. They conclude by urging HUD to conduct focus groups and hold listening sessions at the properties that are part of the NSPIRE demonstration as a way for tenants and advocates to share their perspectives.

Read the letter at: