HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted Notice PIH-2020-18 on July 31 announcing allocation of the second and final round of CARES Act supplemental funding of $472 million for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) administrative fees to help public housing agencies (PHAs) to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the coronavirus. The notice also establishes new eligible administrative fee activities.
The CARES Act appropriated $1.25 billion supplemental funding for the HCV program to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and to help PHAs maintain normal operations and take other necessary actions during the pandemic. Of the $1.25 billion, $85 million was set aside for additional administrative fee funding and other expenses PHAs might incur with their HCV programs. Notice PIH-2020-08 addressed $378 million of the $850 million set-aside for the administrative fee portion of the appropriation (see Memo, 5/4). That notice also established new eligible activities that may be funded with these supplemental administrative fee amounts. Of the remaining $1.25 billion, $400 million was set aside for additional housing assistance payments (HAP); PIH posted Notice PIH-2020-17 on July 31 implementing the HAP funding set-aside (see companion article in this issue of Memo).
The CARES Act allows supplemental administrative fee funding to be used for two purposes:
- Any currently eligible HCV (including Mainstream vouchers) administrative costs during the pandemic. These costs include necessary upgrades to information technology or computer systems to improve telework capacities, and overtime pay for PHA staff to carry out HCV program responsibilities.
- New pandemic-related activities, including activities to support or maintain the health and safety of assisted households, as well as costs related to the retention and support of owners of private homes accepting HCVs.
The notice adds new eligible uses of supplemental pandemic-related activities:
- Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for PHA staff and for residents visiting the PHA offices or premises for program-related reasons.
- Covering expenses incurred due to coronavirus restrictions impacting PHA operations (e.g., paying for transportation expenses for PHA staff who rely on public transit that is no longer available).
- Testing PHA staff and HCV families for COVID-19.
- Creating or updating an infectious disease outbreak plan.
- Making physical improvements to PHA office space, including expanding or remodeling, or renting additional space.
- Covering costs to coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Education for educating students in the HCV program. This can include covering costs for technological needs of HCV households with school-aged children who are homeschooled as a result of the pandemic.
The notice also repeats the nine eligible administrative uses from Notice PIH 2020-08, with two modifications. The first use includes Project-Based Voucher (PBV) units, while the second adds “PHA staff.”
Purchasing cleaning supplies and/or services to maintain safe and sanitary HCV units, including common areas and in-unit cleaning of all Project-Based Voucher (PBV) units.
Relocating PHA staff and voucher households to health units or other designated units for testing, hospitalization, or quarantine, or transportation to these locations to limit the exposure that could be caused by using mass transportation.
PIH is extending to June 30, 2021 the deadline for PHAs to spend the funds.
Notice PIH-2020-18 is at: https://bit.ly/3i2xDNZ
More information about the Housing Choice Voucher program is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.
More information about Project-Based Vouchers is on page 4-8 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.