HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted “Project-Based Vouchers: Frequently Asked Questions About PBVs and Public Housing Repositioning” to clarify existing requirements pertaining to project-basing Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) as a tool for repositioning public housing units. The document provides 30 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing specific situations. This article provides highlights.
The term “repositioning” essentially means reducing the number of homes in the public housing stock. PIH sent a letter to public housing agency (PHA) executive directors on November 13, 2018, signaling HUD’s intent to reduce the public housing stock dramatically, euphemistically calling the policy “repositioning public housing” (see Memo, 11/19/18). HUD listed four means of repositioning public housing: 1) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD); 2) Section 18 demolition or disposition of public housing; 3) facilitation of Section 22 voluntary conversion of public housing to vouchers; and 4) retention of assets after a Declaration of Trust (DOT) release. To demolish or dispose of public housing or to convert it to vouchers, a PHA must first apply to HUD’s Special Applications Center (SAC).
The term “project-based voucher” (PBV) means that Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance is tied to a particular property, as opposed to tenant-based vouchers that move with a household. PHAs may project-base up to 20% of their authorized HCVs and up to 30% if the additional units contain certain types of households or are located in specific areas.
Question 3 (page 3) states that for a Section 18 demolition or disposition, a PHA may project-base a Tenant Protection Voucher (TPV) at a former public housing unit. For Section 22 Voluntary Conversions of public housing units to vouchers, PIH states that if a project (or portion of a project) will be used as rental housing following a Section 22 conversion approval, then each household living in the project may remain in its dwelling unit with tenant-based TPV assistance. TPVs are Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) provided to PHAs in response to a “public housing action.” The primary public housing actions are: Section 18 demolitions and/or dispositions, de minimis Section 18 demolitions (demolitions of only a few units), Section 22 voluntary conversions to vouchers, and Section 33 required conversions to vouchers. See a separate article about TPVs in this issue of Memo.
Question 31 (page 12) states that a PHA must describe its intent to project-base vouchers in its PHA Annual Plan. However, “Qualified PHAs” (i.e., those that administer a combination of fewer than 550 units of public housing and vouchers) do not have to submit a PHA Annual Plan. About 70% of all PHAs are Qualified PHAs. A list of Qualified PHAs is at: https://bit.ly/3e9K6Oy. A Qualified PHA must hold am annual public hearing inviting public comment about any changes to its goals, objectives, and policies. The Qualified PHA must also consult with and consider the recommendations of the Resident Advisory Board (RAB) for the agency. At least 45 days before the date of the public hearing, the PHA must:
- Make available for inspection by the public at the principal office of the PHA during normal business hours, all information relevant to the hearing and any changes to the goals, objectives, and policies of the PHA to be considered at the hearing.
- Publish a notice informing the public of the date, time, and location of the public hearing, and that the information to be reviewed during the public hearing is available, as well as where and when the public may inspect the information.
Question 34 (page 14) clarifies that for PBV units in a property assisted with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) with allowable LIHTC rents to the owner greater than the Fair Market Rent (FMR), the maximum PBV rent paid to the owner is the maximum rent allowed under the LIHTC program (minus any utility allowance), which may be greater than 110% of the FMR. If the allowable LIHTC rent to the owner is less than the FMR, then the PBV rent to the owner is the PHA’s Section 8 rent (not greater than 110% of FMR), even if the PBV rent to the owner is greater than the amount permitted under the LIHTC.
“Project-Based Vouchers: Frequently Asked Questions About PBVs and Public Housing Repositioning” is at: https://bit.ly/3e9hXqQ
PIH’s public housing repositioning webpage is at: https://bit.ly/37AEwlB
More information about public housing is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about repositioning of public housing is on page 4-50 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about project basing vouchers is on page 4-8 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about Tenant Protection Vouchers is on page 4-12 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about PHA Plans and Resident Advisory Boards (RABs) is on page 7-61 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide, as well as at Outline of Resident Participation in the PHA Plan Process on NLIHC’s public housing webpage: https://bit.ly/2N2ombx
More information about the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is on page 5-17 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.