Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs – April 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Jan. 25 the report, “Rental Housing: Improvements Needed to Better Monitor the Moving to Work Demonstration, Including Effects on Tenants.” Because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD’s) oversight of the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration has been limited, GAO released the report to indicate areas in need of improvement. GAO found that while HUD has taken steps to address staffing to oversee the current 39 MTW agencies, HUD has not finalized its workforce planning for 100 agencies to be added to the demonstration. In addition, without a monitoring process, HUD can’t provide reasonable assurance that MTW agencies have sound plans for expending reserves. Also, HUD does not assess the results of agencies’ analyses. GAO makes 11 recommendations to HUD, which include completing workforce planning, developing processes to track use of funds and monitor agencies’ reserves, and developing a framework. HUD generally agreed with eight of the recommendations and disagreed with three, citing the need for flexibility. The report is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD awarded $34.9 million to public housing authorities, public housing resident associations, Native American tribes and nonprofit organizations across the nation Feb. 20 to hire or retain service coordinators to help them find jobs, educational opportunities and achieve economic and housing independence. Funding for this award was provided through HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency–Service Coordinators program. The program helps grantees hire or retain service coordinators who work directly with residents. A complete list of awards is available at www.hud.gov.

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HUD published Feb. 16 a notice revising fiscal year (FY) 2018 fair market rents (FMRs) for eight areas based on new survey data. The areas affected are urban Honolulu and Hawaii County, Hawaii; Hood River County and Wasco County, Ore.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville and Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.; Jonesboro, Ark.; and Seattle-Bellevue, Wash. The revised FMRs were effective March 22. The notice is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD awarded Feb. 27 nearly $5 million to six communities to redevelop severely distressed HUD-assisted housing and revitalize neighborhoods through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The communities include Los Angeles; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Chicago Heights, Ill.; Lewiston, Maine; and Huntington, W.Va. Los Angeles, Lewiston and Philadelphia all received $1.3 million, while the other communities each received $350,000.