HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2023-08 on April 7, clarifying regulations and PIH policies that apply to regionalization under the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration. The Notice applies to all public housing agencies (PHAs) selected to participate in the MTW Demonstration – that is, the original 39 MTW Agencies, as well as 100 Expansion MTW Agencies. Two regionalization options are described in the Notice: Option 1 (“Transfer or Consolidation of Programs”) and Option 2 (“Management Agreement”). PIH invites members of the public to provide feedback by mailing [email protected], and the office will accept such feedback for 90 days (until July 7).
Brief MTW Background
Moving to Work is a misleading title because it has nothing to do with helping public housing or Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) residents prepare for or secure employment. The so-called MTW Demonstration allows PHAs to volunteer for MTW status, which provides them enormous flexibility because the enabling statute allows PIH to waive nearly all provisions of the “United States Housing Act of 1937” and accompanying regulations. MTW flexibilities can significantly affect residents by increasing their rent, imposing work requirements, or limiting how long they can remain in public housing or receive HCV assistance. MTW PHAs are also allowed to shift Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds and HCV assistance, including HCV Administrative Fees and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funds, to purposes other than those for which these funds were originally appropriated (referred to as “fungibility”).
The three MTW statutory objectives are to reduce costs, give households incentives to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and to increase housing choice. The statute requires MTW agencies to: (1) serve the same number of low-income households as they would without MTW funding flexibility; (2) serve a mix of households by size comparable to the mix they would have served if they were not in MTW; (3) ensure that 75% of the households they assist have incomes at or less than 50% of area median incomes; (4) ensure that assisted units meet housing quality standards; and (5) establish a reasonable rent policy.
The Two MTW Regionalization Options
An existing MTW Agency may partner with one or more other PHAs for either option to form a Regional MTW Agency. Additional PHAs may join a Regional MTW Agency at a future date. An existing MTW Agency may pursue both options because one option might be preferred for Public Housing and the other option might be preferred for the HCV program.
Option 1 “Transfer or Consolidation of Programs”
Under this option, to be designated a “Regional MTW Agency,” the Public Housing and/or HCV program of an existing MTW Agency and those of one or more other non-MTW PHAs (“Partner Agencies”) are consolidated. All MTW “flexibilities,” including MTW funding fungibilities, authorized for the existing MTW Agency may apply to all Public Housing and/or HCV units added to its program from the Partner Agencies participating in a voluntary transfer or consolidation.
A Regional MTW Agency acts as a single entity, allowing each of the PHAs’ leadership to determine roles and responsibilities among PHA staff, organizational structure, policy considerations, and other programmatic decisions to ensure that all PHAs are involved in the administration of the Regional MTW Agency’s program.
A Regional MTW Agency’s Annual MTW Plan/Annual MTW Report (for Expansion MTW Agencies) or the MTW Supplement/PHA Plan (for the original 39 MTW agencies) must include all units within the Regional MTW Agency portfolio. All units added as part of the voluntary transfer or consolidation will be subject to the five statutory requirements (listed above in the Background section of this article).
Option 2 “Management Agreement”
Under this option, an existing MTW Agency along with one or more non-MTW PHAs (“Partner Agencies”) seek to benefit from joint MTW administrative flexibilities (i.e., the MTW statutory and regulatory waivers of the existing MTW agency). The Partner Agencies do not, however, get to use the funding fungibility of the existing MTW Agency. The MTW Agency may administer all or a portion of a Partner Agency’s Public Housing and/or HCV programs, applying its MTW administrative flexibilities to a Partner Agency’s units.
The existing MTW Agency and each Partner Agency remain separate and distinct entities, with the MTW Agency managing a Partner Agency’s Public Housing inventory and/or its HCV program. A Management Agreement that must be for at least five years will govern their respective roles and responsibilities. An MTW Agency cannot combine a Partner Agency’s funding with its own to achieve MTW fungibility.
The MTW Agency will be answerable directly to PIH for its performance in administering Partner Agencies’ HCV and/or Public Housing units. A Partner Agency continues to be responsible for reporting on all of its HCV and/or Public Housing units in the PIH Information Center (PIC), the Financial Data Schedule, Voucher Management System, and its Annual PHA Plan.
Read Notice PIH 2023-08 at: https://bit.ly/3Gz64uj
Find PIH’s Moving to Work Demonstration homepage at: https://bit.ly/2AjmYvp
Explore a list of all MTW Agencies (original 39 and 100 Expansion PHAs) at: https://bit.ly/3mpfYIr
Find PIH’s MTW Expansion page at: https://bit.ly/3zUwEun