HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) posted a notice in the Federal Register on April 26 inviting public comment about the January 30, 2015 Interim Final Rule implementing the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). In the preamble to the Interim Rule, CPD stated its intention to open the interim rule for public comment once funding was made available and the grantees gained experience in administering the HTF program. Funding did not become available until May 2016 due to the 2008 financial crisis. Because most states’ initial HTF Allocation Plans were not approved until late 2016 or early 2017, actual state programs and awards to projects effectively took place in 2017. Comments are due June 25.
In addition to comments about the Interim Rule, CPD asks the public to consider and comment on additional six issues that might inform its rulemaking:
- Income targeting requirements, including the requirement that 100% of HTF funds be used for extremely low-income households with income at or below the poverty line (whichever is greater) when there is less than $1 billion for the HTF. The interim rule defines extremely low-income households as those with annual income that do not exceed 30% of the area median income (AMI)
- The rent limitations in the interim rule. For instance, for extremely low-income households the rent (including utilities) an assisted household pays cannot be greater than 30% of the federal poverty line or 30% of the income of a hypothetical household whose annual income equals 30% of AMI
- The minimum 30-year period of affordability
- Property standards, including environmental standards
- The limitation on the use of HTF funds for operating cost assistance (including reserves) to one-third of each state’s annual grant. Also, the definition of operating costs, which is limited to costs for insurance, utilities, real property taxes, and maintenance and scheduled payments to a reserve for replacement of major systems of an HTF-assisted unit
- Other changes to the HTF program that could improve program administration and more effectively address the housing needs of the population it is intended to serve
HUD will consider all comments submitted in undertaking further rulemaking for the HTF.
The Federal Register notice is at https://bit.ly/3gDHlca
More information about the HTF is on page 3-1 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.