HUD’s Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration Program office published two documents the week of October 15, a special MTW PHA Plan Supplement and Notice PIH-2018-17 inviting small PHAs to apply for MTW status.
NLIHC continues to assess the MTW Demonstration Program Operations Notice published on October 5 (see Memo, 10/9) and republished on October 11 to include an Appendix that was mistakenly omitted on October 5 (see Memo, 10/15). The Operations Notice establishes requirements for implementing the MTW demonstration program for public housing agencies (PHAs) applying for one of the 100 new MTW slots authorized in 2016. NLIHC will provide more analysis next week. Comments are due November 26.
MTW PHA Supplement
HUD published in the Federal Register on October 9 an MTW PHA Plan Supplement for a 60-day Paperwork Reduction Act comment period. The MTW PHA Plan Supplement will take the place of the MTW Plan/Report (Form 50900) for MTW Expansion PHAs and will be submitted once per year as part of the standard PHA Plan process. MTW Expansion PHAs will indicate the MTW activities they intend to implement from the long list of MTW Waivers provided in the Appendix to the Operations Notice. Comments are due by December 10.
The Supplement lists all of the MTW Waivers that a PHA can use without obtaining HUD approval, and has a series of check boxes and some opportunities for narrative responses. For example under the work requirement waiver for public housing residents, some of the questions asked are:
- Will households . . . be subject to one of the many rent provisions, such as stepped rents?
- Does the work requirement apply to new admissions only, previously admitted residents, or both?
- Does the work requirement entail a specific number of hours worked over a set period of time?
- Does it apply to the household or to each individual member?
- What kinds of activities qualify as “work”?
- Will households be evicted for failing the work requirement?
NLIHC will begin to take a closer look at the Supplement and submit comments. One thing jumps out immediately. On the first page HUD asks the MTW PHA to provide a narrative description of how the PHA seeks to address the three statutory objectives during the coming year. Those three statutory objectives are to reduce costs, give households incentives to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and increase housing choice. NLIHC observed that for each waiver the Supplement asks whether the waiver will have any cost implications and requests the PHA to estimate the amounts of cost implications. There are not similar questions regarding the two other statutory objectives that affect residents: economic self-sufficiency and housing choice. Informally, HUD explains that the cost question was in response to a HUD Inspector General report, and that HUD would consider adding similar questions about self-sufficiency and housing choice.
This Notice invites PHAs with a combination of 1,000 or fewer public housing units and vouchers to apply for one of 30 MTW slots for the first of four cohorts. This cohort will evaluate the overall effects of MTW flexibility on the PHA and its residents. HUD will compare outcomes related to the three statutory objectives (see above) between the MTW PHAs and PHAs assigned to a control group. Applicant PHAs will be assigned by lottery to be MTW PHAs, waitlist PHAs, or control group PHAs.
A PHA’s MTW Plan and application must undergo a public input process that includes:
- Notifying public housing residents and voucher participants of the PHA’s intent to apply for MTW status. This notice must be in advance of developing an MTW Plan.
- The PHA must hold at least two resident meetings, separate from and before a required public hearing.
- After the two resident meetings, the PHA must publish a notice that a hearing will be held about the draft MTW Plan. That draft MTW Plan and all relevant information must be available to the public for at least 30 days before an application is sent to HUD.
- The PHA must conduct a public hearing to discuss the draft MTW Plan and invite public comment.
- The PHA’s Board of Commissioners must approve the MTW Plan no less than 15 days after the public hearing.
The section of the Notice describing the MTW Plan provides a very general set of components to be included in the MTW Plan. PHAs are to describe what types of initiatives the PHA seeks to implement and why; specific activities do not have to be included. The PHA must describe how it proposes to use MTW Funds, including if/how the PHA would use MTW Funds in a fungible manner (i.e. use public housing capital funds for vouchers or for “non-traditional local activities”).
The Federal Register notice inviting Paperwork Reduction Act comments on the MTW PHA Plan supplement is at: https://bit.ly/2q0crPG
The MTW PHA Plan Supplement is at: https://bit.ly/2EzA63K
Notice PIH-2018-17 is at: https://bit.ly/2Ct19ed