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HUD HOPWA Program Issues Notice Implementing CARES Act Supplemental Funding Provisions

HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing in the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued Notice CPD-20-05 on May 8. The Notice provides instructions for implementing CARES Act provisions pertaining to the $65 million supplemental funding appropriated for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program. These funds are to be used to maintain operations and provide rental assistance, supportive services, and other necessary activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

Congress appropriated $65 million through the CARES Act for HOPWA supplemental funding. Of that amount, at least $50 million is to be allocated using the same formula used to distribute the pre-existing annual FY20 HOPWA allocations. CPD announced allocation of $53.7 million on April 1 (see Memo, 4/6). The CARES Act also requires that up to $10 million be provided as additional one-time, non-renewable awards to grantees administering existing contracts for permanent supportive housing. CPD announced the HOPWA competitive awards amounting to $10 million on April 1. Notice CPD-20-05 indicates that $1.3 million will be awarded to increase amounts previously awarded to existing HOPWA technical assistance providers.

Grantees may use supplemental funds for:

  • Stays at hotels, motels, or other locations to allow for self-isolation, quarantine, or other infection control for individuals or their family members;
  • Transportation services to access medical care, supplies, and food, or to commute to places of employment;
  • Essential services and supplies such as food, medications, medical care, personal protective equipment (PPE), and information;
  • Nutrition services in the form of food banks, groceries, and meal deliveries;
  • Education on ways to reduce risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus to others; and
  • Costs related to infection control, such as cleaning and disinfectant supplies, gloves, PPE, and other safety-related supplies for staff and assisted households.

These supplemental funds may be used to cover or reimburse costs as of the date a grantee or project sponsor began preparing for coronavirus, which HUD presumes to be no earlier than January 21, 2020, the date the first confirmed case.

The Notice provides the first mention yet of any guidance from CPD regarding duplication of benefits:

“The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act prohibits the duplication of benefits for programs that provide financial assistance to people or entities suffering losses as a result of a federally-declared disaster or emergency. The duplication of benefits occurs when federal financial assistance is provided to a person or entity through a program to address losses resulting from a federally-declared emergency or disaster, and the person or entity has received (or would receive, by acting reasonably to obtain available assistance) financial assistance for the same costs from any other source (including insurance), and the total amount received exceeds the total need for those costs (emphasis added).”

HUD plans to issue additional guidance to promote compliance with this requirement.

The CARES Act provides that the supplemental grant funding may be used to cover short-term rent, mortgage, and utility (STRMU) assistance payments to prevent homelessness of a tenant or mortgagor for a period of up to 24 months. The 24-month limit is only applicable to the supplemental grant funds received under the CARES Act and any portion of a grantee’s FY 20 formula funds used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic. STRMU assistance provided under all other HOPWA awards remains subject to statutory limits of STRMU assistance to a period of no more than 21 weeks of any 52-week period.

The supplemental funding and any amounts from a grantee’s FY20 formula funds may be used to pay for relocation services including lodging at hotels, motels, or other locations for persons living with HIV/AIDS as well as household members who are not living with HIV/AIDS. This funding may also be used to lodge one or more household members who need to isolate temporarily from other members of the household.

The Notice reiterates the streamlined public participation provisions of a CPD Memorandum dated March 31 (see Memo, 4/6). CPD waived the 30-day minimum requirement for the public comment period for substantial amendments, provided that no less than five days are provided for public comments on each substantial amendment. The Notice states that grantees should post an approved substantial amendment on its official website, along with a summary of public comments.

Notice CPD-20-05 is at: https://bit.ly/2LuAuRy

More about HOPWA is on page 4-79 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.