HUD issued joint Notice H-2020-09/PIH-2020-26 announcing two CARES Act-related provisions regarding the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). One provision allows a public housing agency (PHA) or owner of a public housing development scheduled for conversion under RAD to inform and consult with residents individually or in small groups. A second provision explains that during the year of a development’s conversion, a “Covered Project” is eligible to receive a supplemental CARES Act Public Housing Operating Fund subsidy.
RAD allows PHAs to voluntarily convert public housing units to Project-Based Vouchers (PBVs) administered by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) or Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) administered by HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs.
Alternative to Group Resident Meetings
Due to the coronavirus and the need to limit contact in large numbers, Notice H-2020-09/PIH-2020-26 supplements previous guidance by allowing a PHA or owner to use alternative means to inform and consult with residents individually or in small groups. This option is particularly important for residents who have limited access to or familiarity with technologies that might be used for a remote meeting. PHA’s may use this alternative until December 31, 2020 or the end of the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020 – whichever is later.
The regular RAD Notice (Rev. 4) requires PHAs and owners to hold meetings with residents at several stages prior to their public housing converting to PBVs or PBRA. PHAs and owners must also receive and respond to comments received during those meetings. Due to the coronavirus, a Q&A published on April 2 (see Memo, 4/6) allowed PHAs and owners to use technologies to hold such meetings remotely to limit the need for public in-person meetings. However, HUD envisioned those remote meetings to be held communally.
Any alternative must:
- Actively reach out to residents, inform them of an opportunity for a one-on-one or small group meeting, which could be in-person, by phone, or by other technology.
- Effectively convey required and any other important information to all residents. This may include individual meetings or calls with residents or advanced distribution of flyers or other materials to resident mailboxes or doors.
- Create an accessible means for residents to comment and ask questions. PHAs and owners should take into account the type of technology and resources available to residents.
- Provide residents an accessible means for obtaining comments and questions submitted by others and the PHA’s or owner’s response.
- Provide residents means to ask additional questions related to the conversion.
- Accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities or with limited English proficiency (LEP).
- Document the date of communication with residents and the names of participating residents.
HUD writes that it is important to err on the side of over-communicating and providing multiple venues for questions and comments. In addition to these individual or small-group meetings, PHAs are encouraged to maintain ongoing contact with residents to provide updates on conversion plans and to maintain a venue for further questions or comments.
CARES Act Operating Fund and RAD
As properties convert through RAD, for the remainder of the first calendar year in which a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract is effective (the “year of conversion”), HUD obligates Public Housing Operating Funds and Capital Funds to the PHA for the “Covered Project” at the level of public housing subsidy that the Covered Project would have been eligible to receive before the RAD conversion.
Notice H-2020-09/PIH-2020-26 explains that Covered Projects with a HAP Effective Date in calendar year 2020 are eligible to receive a subsidy from the $685 million Congress appropriated through the CARES Act for supplemental Public Housing Operating Fund subsidies (see Memo 5/4).
Notice H-2020-09/PIH-2020-26 is at: https://bit.ly/2ZXXyjp