HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued a Memorandum on March 31, 2021 updating waivers to HUD homelessness program regulations in the context of coronavirus. Ten waivers pertain to the Continuum of Care (CoC) program, three to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and one to the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. In short, the period of applicability of waivers previously made in 2020, December 29 (see Memo, 1/11), September 30 (see Memo, 10/13/20), May 22 (see Memo 6/1/20), and March 31 (see Memo, 4/6/20), are extended to June 30, 2021.
The regulations affected by the ten CoC waiver extensions include:
- Third-Party Documentation of Income
- Housing Quality Standards (HQS), Initial Inspection of Unit
- Suitable Dwelling Size and Housing Quality Standards
- Assistance Available at Time of Renewal
- Permanent Housing, Rapid Re-housing Monthly Case Management
- Fair Market Rent (FMR) for Individual Units and Leasing Costs
- One-Year Lease Requirement
- Limit on Eligible Housing Search and Counseling Services
- HQS, Re-Inspection of Units
- Homeless Definition, Temporary Stays in Institutions of 90 Days or Less
The regulations affected by the three HOPWA waiver extensions include:
- Property Standards
- Fair Market Rent (FMR) Rent Standard
- Time Limits for Short-Term Housing Facilities and Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Payments. This waiver until June 30, 2021 applies to all HOPWA grants except those funded under the CARES Act, or for the portion of a grantee’s FY20 formula funds that have been approved under its Annual Action Plan (AAP) for allowable activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ESG waiver pertains to the Temporary Stays in Institutions of 90 Days or Less definition of homelessness. The Memorandum adds that the waiver applies for ESG grants funded under the CARES Act as well as ESG grants funded under FY21 and earlier fiscal year appropriations acts, including grants that have yet to be awarded under those acts. With respect to ESG grants funded under the CARES Act and FY20 and earlier fiscal year ESG grant funds recipients use to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, the waiver will be deemed to be effective as of the date a state or unit of local government began preparing for coronavirus, which HUD presumes to be January 21, 2020, the date the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was reported in the United States.
NLIHC notes that four ESG waivers from previous Memorandums have not been extended:
- From the May 22, 2020 Memorandum, Housing Stability Case Management
- From the March 31, 2020 Memorandum, HMIS Lead Activities, Re-evaluation for Homelessness Prevention Assistance, and Restriction of Rental Assistance at or Below FMR
The March 31, 2021 Memorandum is at: https://bit.ly/3dUUjQ3
More information about CoC and ESG is on page 4-84 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about HOPWA is on page 4-81 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.