HUD’s Office of Public and Assisted Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2020-05 on April 10 announcing waivers of various public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) statutory and regulatory requirements. Notice PIH 2020-05 is not on the Public and Indian Housing COVID-19 Resources webpage, but instead is posted on the 2020 Notices, Rules and Regulations webpage.
HUD encourages public housing agencies (PHAs) to continue using available funding to house families, keep families in their homes, and conduct critical operations that can be done remotely and safely. Some critical functions for PHAs include issuing vouchers so families can find housing, processing Requests for Tenancy Approvals (RFTAs) so families can be approved to move into a home, processing requests for portability moves, ensuring occupancy of public housing units, processing minimum rent hardship exemptions, and completing reexaminations for households who have experienced a decreased income.
HUD encourages PHAs to use alternative processes such as transmitting information electronically to households, conducting briefings online, conducting conference calls or using self-service features on a PHAs’ websites if available, and providing business-reply envelopes or secure drop-box apparatuses for households that do not have access to the internet to submit documents or rent.
PHAs have the discretion to use all, some, or none of the waivers. The waivers listed in the notice are effective immediately for PHAs that elect to adopt them. PHAs may adopt the waivers at any time during the period of a waiver’s availability. Short-term waivers generally end on July 31, 2020, while longer-term waivers typically expire on December 31, 2020. Some waivers have special dates, such as when the period of availability is dependent on a PHA’s fiscal year end date or based on a specific action or activity.
If a PHA chooses to apply any of the waivers, it is required to notify residents and owners of any impacts that the waiver might have on them by whatever means the PHA considers most effective as soon as practicable. A PHA may need to initially provide notification by placing information on its website and as a voice-mail message and then follow up with more formal written notice as circumstances allow.
For the public housing program, the waivers apply to the CARES Act supplemental appropriation ($685 million) and to the FY20 Operating Fund and Capital Fund appropriations, as well as any prior Operating Fund or Capital Fund appropriations. For the HCV program, the waivers apply to the CARES Act supplemental appropriation ($1.25 billion) and to the FY20 Operating Fund appropriation. The waivers also apply to any special purpose vouchers such as Mainstream vouchers, Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers, and HUD-VASH vouchers, provided that HCV program operations including those special purpose vouchers are supported by amounts provided by the FY20 Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) appropriation (including FY 20 renewal funding, FY20 administrative fees, and FY 20 new special purpose voucher allocations) or amounts from the CARES Act supplemental appropriation during the period of applicability.
NLIHC has a summary of select waiver provisions of Notice PIH 2020-05 that are most important to residents and advocates. As NLIHC and other advocates assess these waivers, NLIHC will report them in future Memos to Members and Partners.
Notice PIH 2020-05 is at: https://bit.ly/34svYvD
Read NLIHC’s summary of the waiver notice at: https://bit.ly/3b8xsh2