NLIHC Provides Initial Assessment of the Revised MTW Operations Notice

NLIHC has conducted an initial assessment of the “Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration Program Operations Notice” republished on October 11 in the Federal Register (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. Comments are due by November 26.

In addition to requiring each cohort of PHAs granted MTW status to carry out one specific policy change assigned by HUD, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016” that authorized the expansion also allows PHAs to implement additional policy changes if approved by HUD. In addition, the act states that “all agencies designated under this section shall be evaluated through rigorous research.” As NLIHC reported previously, however, the revised Operations Notice allows a PHA to implement potentially harmful work-requirement, time-limit, or burdensome rent “MTW Waivers” without needing HUD approval and without the rigorous evaluation called for by the statute.

In addition to the 39 available “MTW Waivers” (12 of which affect rents) and associated activities, the Operations Notice Appendix includes “safe harbors” that identify additional requirements a PHA must follow in carrying out MTW activities without needing HUD approval. Most of the MTW Waivers have these safe harbors ostensibly to address any adverse impacts on residents. In most situations, the safe harbor merely requires a PHA to establish a “hardship policy” and conduct an “impact analysis.” There are serious limitations to the direction HUD provides to PHAs regarding hardship policies and impact analyses. There are also safe harbors for some MTW Waivers that pertain to elderly people and people with disabilities.

NLIHC’s initial assessment provides more detail about the safe harbors and inadequacies of the hardship policies and impact analyses. NLIHC’s assessment reviews concerns regarding the “program-wide” evaluations, instead of “rigorous” evaluations, that MTW Waivers not required by a PHA’s specific cohort will undergo.

NLIHC has also produced a simpler presentation of the proposed MTW Waivers and associated activities and safe harbors. This presentation compares the current proposed MTW Waivers with the “Conditional Waivers” HUD proposed in 2017. While the Conditional Waivers required HUD approval, the proposed MTW Waivers do not.

NLIHC’s “Initial Assessment of the Revised Operations Notice” is at:

NLIHC’s “Comparison of MTW Demonstration Expansion Operations Notices, 2018 and 2017” is at: