Click here to read NLIHC's recommendations, Responding to Coronavirus

Federal agencies must take action – and Congress must provide additional significant resources – to ensure the funds provided by Congress to respond to coronavirus quickly reach communities and people with the greatest needs.

HUD and other federal agencies are working quickly to grant waivers and issue guidance. NLIHC is working to keep this list as up-to-date as possible. Last updated 4/28/2020. Click here for a list of published HUD waivers, guidance, and FAQs.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD should work quickly to address the following issues:

  • Notify all tenants of any new or existing rights or changes in policy as a result of increased flexibility and relief included in the coronavirus package, including moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, how long the moratoriums are expected to last, and whether/how long tenants will have to pay back rent once the moratorium is lifted.
    • Notification should be in everyday English and in other languages where a significant portion of residents rely on other languages. Notification must accommodate people with disabilities. PHAs and owners should consider a variety of notification delivery means to maximize notification consistent with health and safety conditions. (HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs distributed a two-page explanation of the eviction moratorium in relatively easy English and ten other languages. However, it will be up to owners to distribute this explanation to residents. Multifamily has not yet addressed the need to accommodate people with disabilities.)
  • Comply with recommendations by NLIHC, the National Housing Law Project, and the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (that have not already been addressed by Multifamily or PIH FAQs) to expedite interim income recertifications to HUD residents who experience job loss or reduced wages, including residents in McKinney-Vento-funded permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing. In particular, HUD should:
    • Waive the requirement for a tenant to request an interim income recertification because many tenants may be unaware of the "tenant request" requirement.
    • Instruct PHAs and owners to presume that if rent is not paid when due during the emergency (and a reasonable period thereafter) the cause is a reduction in tenant income and to begin the interim recertification process.
    • Grant immediate hardship consideration to any household self-reporting job loss or reduced wages as a result of coronavirus. 
    • Instruct PHAs and owners that for any other rental arrearages accumulated during the coronavirus emergency to ensure proper application of emergency rent recertification policies and to execute reasonable repayment plans that recognize the need to keep total monthly rent burdens affordable.
  • Suspend any policies that would restrict the ability of PHAs and owners to adjust tenant contributions to rent based on job loss or reduction in wages. PHAs and owners must work quickly to recertify tenants as soon as possible. HUD should provide additional assistance to smaller PHAs and owners that may have difficulty in undertaking this work quickly.
  • HUD should institute a moratorium on tenant relocations being done as part of Choice Neighborhood Initiatives, RAD, and other public housing redevelopment, with consideration given to an exception for relocation within the same building or property if deemed safe by local health officials.
  • Suspend any terminations related to work requirements under MTW or other PHAs, as well as any community service and self-sufficiency requirements.
  • Work with state, local, and federal health officials to develop mobile testing sites for low-income, elderly affordable housing residents, plus expanded health and meal services.
  • Ensure people exiting incarceration have access to all HUD resources by waiving bans on formerly incarcerated people residing with family members living in public housing at least for the duration of this crisis and by explicitly banning “no-fault” and “one-strike” evictions.
  • Require cities and states to agree not to sweep homeless encampments, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, as a condition for receiving funds provided in the coronavirus bill.
  • Ensure that housing, food assistance and other resources provided in response to coronavirus are be available to everyone, regardless of income, immigration status, or insurance.

  • As required by statute, HUD must ensure that Section 8 HAP payments are increased on a timely basis to cover decreases in family incomes. Mission-driven nonprofit providers report PHAs requiring providers to provide 75-day notice of any need to increase rent subsidy payments to the nonprofit as tenant incomes decline. (The PIH waiver notice allows a PHA to provide an increased payment standard when a tenant requests an interim income recertification or an owner requests a rent increase. However, this is only an optional waiver, not a requirement.)

  • Dispense with the FY 2020 Continuums of Care Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) competition and provide renewal funding automatically to all recipients funded under the 2019 competition without the need for an extended renewals process.
  • Waive regulations that cap emergency shelter activities at the greater of 60% of the fiscal year grant or the amount of FY2010 grant funds committed for homeless assistance activities. (Included in the CARES Act)
  • Provide the same flexibility to residents and owners of McKinney-Vento-funded permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing, as other tenants and owners of HUD-assisted properties.
  • Provide guidance to help homeless service providers expedite the use of these funds to address urgent needs.
  • Waive time limits on rental assistance, utility payments, and service costs to ensure greater housing stability during and after this crisis.
  • Waive the requirement that limits ESG rental assistance to, at maximum, the Fair Market Rent. Instead allow ESG rental assistance to cover rents up to the payment standard adopted by the appropriate local Public Housing Authority for all households served on or after March 1, 2020, with ESG funds through FY 2020. (Completed, see Memo 4/6)
  • Allow ESG funds to be used to provide medical respite care and street medicine for people experiencing homelessness.

  • Provide greater guidance to housing providers and homeless service providers about how to protect residents from coronavirus, including guidance on cleaning, visitation, and isolation/social distancing. More guidance is necessary to help providers create emergency preparedness plans related to infectious disease control. (Guidance provided in PIH FAQs, Multifamily Q&As, and various homeless assistance resources on the SNAPs “Disease Risk and Homelessness” web page.)
  • Provide greater guidance to PHAs and other housing providers with staff who are teleworking to ensure a continuation of services and functions. (Guidance provided in PIH FAQs, Multifamily Q&As, and various homeless assistance resources on the SNAPs “Disease Risk and Homelessness” web page.)

  • Waive statute to extend commitment deadline for HTF and CMF awards to three years instead of current two-year deadline. This change should also be made permanent for all future awards.
  • Extend the five-year expenditure deadline for HTF funds by no less than an additional 12 months. (HOME waiver on April 10 eliminated the requirement for HOME projects to be completed in four years. See Memo, 4/20).
  • Establish a 12-month moratorium on all onsite monitoring of rental assisted with HOME and HTF. Provide waivers of document review requirements to grantees if the grantees self-certify that, due to social distancing, they are unable to access the applicable documents.

  • HUD should waive the State CDBG Program’s limitation of awarding CDBG funds only to nonentitlement jurisdictions if an entitlement jurisdiction can demonstrate that it has coronavirus-related housing needs that cannot be adequately addressed with the amount of CARES Act funds awarded to the entitlement jurisdiction. This waiver should apply to a state’s allocations from the CARES Act and any FY19 and FY20 regular allocations while the coronavirus crisis exists and for six months subsequent to its subsidence.
  • HUD should waive the three-month limitation on the use of CDBG funds for the provision of temporary rental and mortgage assistance and utility assistance in recognition of the fact that after the coronavirus crisis subsides, employers will be slow to come back online and able to re-engage employees. HUD should explicitly add “eviction prevention activities” to the current list that includes rental and mortgage assistance and utility assistance.HUD should also be prepared to rapidly waive the three-month limitation in the event the coronavirus crisis continues. Such waivers should be implemented if a more permanent source of rental and utility assistance is not made available by Congress.

  • Distribute public housing operating funds on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly.
  • Waive cap on number of vouchers that PHAs can issue.

  • Provide guidance to grantees about providing resources to urban native groups.

  • Suspend any agency actions to implement or advance regulatory changes that could increase homelessness or undermine protections for low-income households, proposed changes to HUD’s mixed-status immigrant family rule, equal access rule, disparate impact rule, faith-based organization rule, or Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA should take immediate action to address the following issues:

  • Notify all tenants of any new or existing rights or changes in policy as a result of increased flexibility and relief included in the Coronavirus package, including moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Comply with recommendations by NLIHC, the National Housing Law Project, and the National Alliance of HUD Tenants to provide interim income recertifications to USDA residents who experience job loss or reduced wages.
  • Suspend any policies that would restrict the ability of providers to adjust tenant contributions to rent based on job loss or reduction in wages. USDA must work quickly to recertify tenants as soon as possible.
  • Grant immediate hardship consideration to any household self-reporting job loss or reduced wages as a result of coronavirus.
  • Work with state, local, and federal health officials to develop mobile testing sites for low-income, elderly affordable housing residents, plus expanded health and meal services.
  • Ensure people exiting incarceration have access to all USDA resources by waiving bans on formerly incarcerated people residing with family members living in public housing at least for the duration of this crisis and by explicitly banning “no-fault” and “one-strike” evictions.
  • Ensure language access services to disseminate information to people with limited English proficiency.
  • Provide greater guidance to housing providers about how to protect residents from Coronavirus, including guidance on cleaning, visitation, and isolation/social distancing. More guidance is necessary to help providers create emergency preparedness plans related to infectious disease control.

Department of the Treasury

  • Ensure that direct assistance checks are provided to those individuals that are hardest to serve, but who have the greatest need for these resources, including people experiencing homelessness, individuals that are unbanked or underbanked, and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Provide a one-year extension of the 10 percent test deadlines, the placed in service deadline, and the rehabilitation expenditure deadline for Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties already in the development process.

Small Business Administration

  • Ensure that funding for forgivable small business loans included in the coronavirus package are made available to affordable housing providers and homeless service providers to help cover additional operating costs.