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HUD PIH Issues Notification of Waivers for PHAs in Presidentially Declared Major Disaster Areas

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a notification providing an expedited process for public housing agencies (PHAs) in counties that have a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to request waivers of certain regulatory and/or administrative requirements during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Requests must be submitted to PIH within four months of a disaster. PIH will expedite reviews of requests. The notification was in the Federal Register on November 11.

The notification informs PHAs that waivers of essential program requirements such as property inspection or income verification will not be granted in their entirety, although modifications or requirements may be considered. Also, while the requirement for Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections cannot be waived, HUD can consider variations to the acceptability criteria to HQS in case of disaster.

The notification includes the following provisions:

Public Housing

  • If a PHA has a public housing unit vacated due to a Presidentially declared disaster, then the PHA may treat the unit as an “approved vacancy,” subject to PIH approval, and receive operating subsidy for the unit for up to 12 months.
  • If there is displacement caused by a disaster, PIH will consider allowing all unexpended Capital Fund Replacement Housing Factor Grants to be used for public housing modernization. This waiver will be in effect for funds obligated within 12 months of the date of PIH approval.

Vouchers

The normal range for PHAs to use as voucher payment standards is between 90% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) and 110% of FMR. To receive PIH approval of an exception payment standard greater than 110%, a PHA must usually provide data about the local housing market to justify an exception payment standard. However, in a disaster typical sources might not accurately reflect post-disaster conditions. In these cases PIH usually considers the most recent available data on the rental market prior to the disaster, and then estimates the number of households seeking housing units in the wake of the disaster in order to determine an emergency exception payment standard amount. PIH will consider an exception payment standard up to 150% of FMR.

A PHA may request a waiver of a requirement not indicated in the notification.

The Federal Register version of the notification is at: https://bit.ly/3klnZa7

An easy-to-read large type version of the notification is at: https://bit.ly/36o1vAj

More information about public housing is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.

More information about vouchers is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.