HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a notice in the Federal Register on January 5 providing Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG), and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) grantees located in Presidentially Declared Disasters (PDDs) areas expedited review of requests for waivers and flexibilities of certain regulations to assist in response and disaster recovery efforts. The notice outlines seven provisions that apply to calendar years 2022 and 2023. In addition, a grantee may request a waiver or flexibility not listed in this notice if it demonstrates a need for one to assist in disaster relief and recovery.
Indian Housing Block Grant
- Total Development Costs (TDC). HUD is waiving the TDC regulatory requirements on cost or design standards and TDC with respect to dwelling and non-dwelling units developed, acquired, or assisted with IHBG funding. An IHBG recipient may exceed the TDC maximum by 20% without HUD review or approval with the use of this waiver. The grantee must maintain documentation that indicates the dwelling units and non-dwelling structures developed, acquired, or assisted with this funding will, after the PDD, be for IHBG eligible families, and the design, size, and amenities are moderate and comparable to housing in the area. This waiver applies to both single-family and multi-family housing, as well as non-dwelling housing. If a grantee requires a TDC limit that exceeds by more than 20% they can do so through written approval from HUD Headquarters.
- Income Verification. Since families may be displaced during a disaster and may not have access to their income documentation, HUD is waiving the requirement for IHBG grantees to verify if a family is income eligible. HUD is instead allowing the following:
- IHBG recipients may deviate from current written admissions and occupancy policies, and may allow less frequent recertification (families may have been required to verify income periodically); and
- IHBG recipients may carry out other forms of income verification if they choose to do so, including self-certification over the phone or through an email with a self-certification form signed by the family.
- Assistance to Middle-Income Families Impacted by a Disaster. HUD is waiving the requirements relating to providing aid to families that may exceed the 80-100% of Area Median Income (AMI) limit. HUD is allowing for the following flexibilities:
- IHBG recipients in PDDs may exceed the 10% cap on serving Native American families whose income falls within 80-100% of AMI without HUD approval, provided the recipient decides that the families are impacted by the disaster and that there is a need for housing for such family that cannot reasonably be met without such assistance.
- IHBG recipients in PDDs may provide IHBG assistance to middle-income Native American families whose income is at or below 120% of AMI without HUD approval, provided the recipient decides that the families are impacted by the disaster and that there is a need for housing for such family that cannot reasonably be met without such assistance.
Indian Community Development Block Grant
- Purchasing Equipment. HUD will waive the regulation that makes it ineligible for ICDBG funds to be used to purchase equipment. With this waiver, ICDBG funds can be used to purchase certain equipment to carry out ICDBG eligible activities that assist with clearance, rehabilitation, construction, and other uses related to housing, public facilities, improvements, and works, and other disaster-recovery related purposes. Equipment must be used for authorized program purposes, and any proceeds from the disposition of equipment will be considered ICDBG program income. HUD may issue further guidance in the future on the disposition of program income after grant closeout.
- Emergency Payments for up to Six Months. HUD will waive the regulation that ICDBG funds may not be used for income payments. The waiver will allow ICDBG grant funds to be used to provide emergency payments for low- and moderate-income individuals and families impacted by a disaster. These grant funds may be used for items such as food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities, as well as rental, mortgage, and utility assistance, without regard for the 3-month limitation in the waived regulation, but for a period not to exceed six months, unless further approved in writing by HUD on a case-by-case basis. ICDBG grantees may establish lines of credit with third-party providers on behalf of specific beneficiary families, provided all expenses can be properly documented and all ICDBG funds used for this purpose are expended on eligible activities.
Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant
- Assistance to Middle-Income Families Impacted by Disaster. HUD is waiving the requirements relating to providing aid to families. Native Hawaiian families impacted by PDD can automatically be served provided their household income does not exceed 120% of the AMI and that the assistance is for homeownership assistance, is temporary in nature, and that it is determined that there is a need for housing that cannot be reasonably met without such assistance.
- Income Verification. Since families may be displaced during a disaster and may not have access to their income documentation, HUD is waiving the requirement for a standard policy of income verification for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) and is allowing the department to modify its policy and procedures to streamline any income verification and documentation requirements for families impacted by PDDs. This includes allowing income self-certification over the phone (with a written record by the DHHL's staff), or through an email with a self-certification form signed by a family. This waiver applies only to families impacted by PDDs whose income documentation was destroyed or made difficult to access by the disaster.
The January 5 Federal Register notice is available at: https://bit.ly/3pZ60w6