HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted Notice PIH 2021-34, announcing that public housing agencies (PHAs) may apply to receive expedited PIH review of certain regulatory waivers originally allowed in Notice PIH 2021-14 in response to the CARES Act (see Memo, 5/10).
PIH has determined that some of the regulatory waivers provided in Notice PIH 2021-14 may continue to be necessary during pandemic recovery. HUD will consider requests to extend the regulatory waivers listed in Table 1 of the notice if a PHA can provide a good cause, including:
- Increased vacancy
- Insufficient staffing levels to address administrative or maintenance backlogs
- Potential negative impacts to tenants or the onset of housing instability
- Local pandemic-specific delays or limitations caused by supply chain disruption, safety, or social distancing requirements
Three of the expedited waivers include:
- An increase in the voucher payment standard during a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. In other words, a PHA may increase a household’s voucher payment standard at any time rather than waiting for the household’s next regular income reexamination.
- A PHA may grant a household one or more extensions of the initial voucher term (the time available to a household with a voucher to lease a unit, which is generally 60 days.)
- PHAs may allow payment standards above the usual maximum of 110% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) up to 120% of FMR. If PIH approves, this payment standard only applies to FY22 FMRs and must revert to the basic range (between 90% and 110% of FMR) for FY23. PHAs may also seek approval to establish an alternative payment standard up to 120% of the Small Area FMRs (SAFMRs) for a ZIP.
The notice also mentions PHAs may continue several waivers from Notice PIH 2021-14 without HUD approval, such as:
- Remote Video Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections. PHAs may perform remote, video-assisted, or “virtual” HQS inspections for inspecting units or responding to resident requests to identify maintenance needs. PHAs may also use similar means (such as videoconferencing, text messaging and email) to receive maintenance requests (see Memo, 12/7/20).
- PHA oral briefing. PHAs may continue to use alternative methods to provide oral briefings. Acceptable methods can include phone, webcast, in-person meetings, video calls, or other virtual methods (see Memo, 12/7/20).
Notice PIH 2021-34 is at https://bit.ly/3ydpuzL
Find more information about Housing Choice Vouchers on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.