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HUD’s HOME Program Revises Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Waivers

HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs, which administers the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) program, issued a Memorandum on December 4 revising and extending an April 10 Memorandum containing waivers pertaining to the HOME program’s Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) option. The April 10 “TBRA Memo” (see Memo, 4/20) explained that  the waivers were intended to enable HOME participating jurisdictions (PJs) to use TBRA to meet urgent housing assistance needs for households experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. The December 4 Memorandum extends all statutory suspensions and regulatory waivers outlined in the April TBRA Memo from December 31, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

The December 4 Memorandum also revises or clarifies five of the earlier waivers. Four are highlighted here:

  • PJs are now allowed to pay past-due rent and fees, including any late fees, as well as pay past-due utility costs, late fees associated with overdue utilities, and costs to restore utility service. Costs were incurred on or after January 27, 2020 through September 30, 2021 may be covered.
  • The April TBRA waiver pertaining to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) allowed a household to be assisted without a PJ requiring an initial HQS inspection. The December waiver adds that if a PJ continues to provide TBRA to a household beyond September 30, 2021, the PJ must conduct an HQS inspection before executing a new rental assistance contract.
  • Similarly, while the April TBRA waiver eliminated the requirement that a PJ conduct an annual HQS inspection during the waiver period, the December waiver requires housing that continues to be occupied by households with TBRA assistance after September 30, 2021 to undergo an HQS inspection before a new TBRA contract is executed.
  • The April TBRA waiver allowed a household to self-certify their income in order to be eligible to receive TBRA assistance. HUD is modifying that waiver to clarify that two pandemic-related income sources are not to be included in a household’s income self-certification: Federal Pandemic Unemployment  Compensation FPUC, (a CARES Act program that provided people receiving regular unemployment assistance an additional $600 in federal benefits each week for 18 weeks up to July 31) and Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance (the extra unemployment assistance of $300 per week plus $100 per week if a person’s state provided a 25% match).

The December 4 TBRA waiver Memorandum is at: https://bit.ly/2IveyIe

More information about the HOME program is on page 5-5 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide