HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH-2020-07 on April 28 implementing the CARES Act funding provisions for the Public Housing Operating Fund. The CARES Act appropriated $685 million supplemental funding for the Public Housing Operating Fund to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and to help public housing agencies (PHAs) maintain normal operations during the pandemic. The Notice also provides guidance regarding the CARES Act provision allowing PHAs to use previously appropriated Capital and Operating Funds to enable PHAs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the crisis.
The funds may be used for eligible activities during the period the pandemic impacts PHAs. The funds may also be used for other expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including: support to maintain the health and safety of assisted individuals and families and education and childcare for impacted families, which are newly eligible activities. Funds previously made available by formula under the Operating Fund and Capital Fund programs in prior appropriations may be used through December 31, 2020 for these purposes.
Notice PIH-2020-07 lists potential uses of funds:
- To prepare for coronavirus, funds may be used before a local coronavirus outbreak in order to develop processes and procedures, and to take actions designed to help keep people healthy, reduce exposure to coronavirus, and slow the spread of the virus. Specific examples include:
- Coordinating with providers of services needed to support residents as a result of coronavirus, including the cost of delivering goods, supplies, and equipment.
- Coordinating with local health service providers for activities, including developing or providing guidance to staff or residents, travel for testing, or other reasons related to coronavirus.
- Providing childcare for residents so they can continue to work and for staff performing essential functions.
- To prevent the spread of coronavirus, funds may be used in a variety of ways:
- Delivering supplies so staff or residents can shelter in place.
- Transporting residents for coronavirus testing or other preventive health measures.
- Protecting residents, particularly high-risk residents, from exposure through interaction with PHA staff.
- To respond to the pandemic once coronavirus has spread to staff or residents, PHAs may use funds to care for those who have become infected and to limit exposure and spread of the virus. Funds may continue to be used after a local outbreak for any continuing expenses incurred due to the spread of coronavirus. Examples include:
- Caring for residents and staff who have tested positive but do not require hospitalization.
- Safely transporting residents or staff in need of medical attention.
- Coordinating with local schools and local governments to provide internet access and tablets or other low-cost computers for students.
Notice PIH-2020-07 is at: https://bit.ly/35jkV8z
More information about the Public Housing program is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.