HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) posted COVID-19 FAQs: Public & Multifamily Housing Property Inspections on November 11, posing 56 easy-to-read questions with answers regarding conducting REAC physical inspections during the coronavirus pandemic. The frequently asked questions (FAQs) address both public housing and HUD-assisted private Multifamily properties. Below are highlights of the FAQs of most interest to residents and advocates.
Question 1 repeats information in a Memorandum from August 10 (see Memo, 8/17) about how properties will be selected for REAC inspection. REAC will select properties for inspection in counties considered low-risk for six consecutive weeks based on the latest COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins University and health risk scoring methodology from the Harvard Global Health Institute.
REAC developed a map that categorizes states and localities by four risk categories: low risk (green), moderately low risk (yellow), moderately high risk (orange), and high risk (red). A map posted on the REAC webpage brings up an Excel spreadsheet showing each state and county health risk score when clicking on a state. As of November 11, only American Samoa is rated low risk; Maine, New Hampshire, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and Vermont are rated moderately low risk.
Question 2. Public housing properties in high-risk counties that are overdue for a REAC inspection will be inspected no earlier than January 1, 2021, unless the public housing agency (PHA) requested a 2020 Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) assessment. A HUD-assisted Multifamily property in a high-risk county that is overdue for a REAC inspection will have priority once normal operations can safely resume.
Question 8. Only in-person inspections for Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) will be conducted, but REAC might consider remote inspections in the future.
Question 10. REAC inspectors must: be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis; wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves; frequently use hand sanitizer; practice physical distancing, and follow local and state guidelines.
Question 21. Inspectors must change or sanitize gloves between unit inspections.
Question 22. Neither HUD nor the REAC inspector will provide residents with PPE. PHAs are reminded that the CARES Act allows PHAs to use Public Housing Operating Fund Supplemental Assistance to provide PPE for residents.
Question 19. Property representatives may require an inspector to have their temperature taken if recommended or required by local or state guidelines.
Question 20. A REAC inspector may ask about any known COVID-19 cases currently at a property.
Question 23. Only one property representative escort and an inspector are allowed to enter a unit during inspection.
Question 24. If a resident in a sample unit for inspection who is at high risk does not want an inspector to enter their home, the inspector will select an alternate unit.
Question 26. If an inspector observes an Exigent Health and Safety (EHS) condition, the deficiency must be corrected.
COVID-19 FAQs: Public & Multifamily Housing Property Inspections is at: https://bit.ly/2IwEu5K
More information about public housing is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about Multifamily housing is on page 4-61 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.