HUD Issues HOME Utility Allowance Guidance

HUD issued guidance regarding methods Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) may use for determining utility allowances (UAs) at rental properties assisted with HOME Investment Partnerships program funds. If residents of HOME-assisted rental units pay their own utilities, the HOME regulations require PJs to establish maximum monthly utility allowances and to annually update them. The 2013 changes to the HOME regulations included changes to the UA requirements. The new guidance provided by the Office of Affordable Housing Programs is in HOMEfires Volume 13, Number 2.

The 2013 HOME rule requires PJs to use the HUD Utility Schedule Model (HUSM) or to determine UA using a project-specific methodology. HOMEfires Vol. 13 No. 2 reviews the HUSM and five other methods that meet HOME’s regulations: HUD’s Multifamily Housing Utility Analysis, utility company estimates, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocating agency estimates, and the Energy Consumption Model. A PJ may adopt one or more of the options.

Although the revised UA regulations were implemented on August 23, 2013, HUSM had technical problems preventing its use. Those technical problems have been rectified, so PJs must immediately take steps to implement the 2013 UA regulation changes for projects for which HOME funds were committed on or after August 23, 2013.

HOMEfires Vol. 13 No. 2 states that PJs are no longer allowed to use utility allowances established by local public housing agencies (PHAs) unless the HOME funds were committed before August 23, 2013. The guidance also indicates that a PJ may request a waiver for HOME units occupied by households with a Housing Choice voucher because the voucher program requires utility allowances be calculated by the PHA. 

Homefires Vol. 13 No. 2 is at