HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH-2020-08 on April 28 implementing CARES Act funding provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The CARES Act appropriated $1.25 billion of supplemental funding for the HCV program to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and to help public housing agencies (PHAs) maintain normal operations during the pandemic. Of the $1.25 billion, $850 million is set aside for additional administrative fee funding and other expenses PHAs might incur in their HCV programs. Notice PIH-2020-08 addresses $380 million of the $850 million set-aside for the administrative fee portion of the appropriation. It also establishes newly eligible activities.
The $380 million supplemental administrative fee funding may be used for two purposes only:
- Any currently eligible HCV (including mainstream voucher) administrative costs during the period the pandemic impacts PHAs. Currently eligible HCV administrative costs include necessary upgrades to information technology or computer systems to enhance telework capacities, and overtime pay for PHA staff to carry-out HCV program responsibilities.
- New coronavirus-related activities, including activities to support or maintain the health and safety of residents, and costs related to retention and support of participating HCV property owners.
Notice PIH-2020-08 lists a variety of eligible coronavirus-related activities:
- Delivering goods, including food and medical supplies, to voucher households in a manner that complies with CDC requirements.
- Relocating families to health units or other designated units for testing, hospitalization, or quarantine, or for transportation to these locations.
- Providing incentives to retain or increase HCV property owner participation in the HCV program.
- Providing the children of PHA staff with childcare that would not have otherwise been incurred, such as childcare for children at home due to school closings or PHA staff working outside of regular work schedules.
PIH estimates that the $380 million will cover two months of a PHA’s administrative fee needs. Future guidance will address the remaining $470 million supplemental administrative fee fund. Of the overall $1.25 billion, $400 million is set aside for additional housing assistance payments (HAP). These additional HAP payments are for adjustments in the calendar year 2020 HCV renewal funding for PHAs that experience a significant increase in voucher per-unit costs due to extraordinary circumstances, such as decreasing tenant rent payments as their work hours are reduced or as they lose jobs. This set-aside can also be used to provide extra HAP funding because PHAs would otherwise have to terminate vouchers for households as a result of insufficient funding. A separate Notice will address the $400 million HAP supplemental funding.
Notice PIH-2020-08 is at: https://bit.ly/2VPmgRy
More information about the Housing Choice Voucher program is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.