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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - August 2012

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are working to improve data on the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published in June. GAO examined how VA and HUD determine veteran eligibility for the program, what data the agencies collect and report on the program and their data reliability efforts, and what is known about HUD-VASH performance. Program data show that HUD-VASH has moved previously homeless veterans into housing. The goal is to have veterans in housing represent 88 percent of authorized vouchers by September 2012; several states had met or exceeded that goal as of March 2012, GAO said. However, HUD, which collects data on HUD-VASH voucher utilization, acknowledges discrepancies between VA and HUD data. The departments are working to finalize an information-sharing agreement to better identify the source of the discrepancies and validate reports based on data from VA’s Homeless Operations Management and Evaluation System (HOMES). Download GAO’s report at www.gao.gov.

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HUD is providing an additional $2.5 million to public housing agencies (PHAs) under the HUD-VASH program to supply housing and case management services for 380 homeless veterans. This is in addition to the $72.6 million in program funding that the agency announced earlier this year. HUD-VASH includes both rental assistance through vouchers and comprehensive case management provided by VA Medical Centers. Participating veterans rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

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HUD proposed in June to align PHA executives’ salaries with the federal government pay system’s tiers beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2013. The agency said that the use of caps on federally funded employee compensation will ensure that pay ranges are commensurate with the size of and number of units overseen by housing authorities. Unlike in FY 2012, the caps would be limits on total cash compensation including bonuses. Organizations including the Council of Large Public Housing Agencies, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, oppose the new set of caps, calling it an unnecessary and excessive measure. They noted that HUD’s data show that 97 percent of top-earning housing officials earned less in total cash compensation than the $155,500 salary-only cap. HUD said that if Congress fails to act on the proposal, it will take executive action to put the caps in place under its own regulations. A summary of the 2010 PHA executive salary data that led HUD to propose these changes is available at www.hud.gov.

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HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they will formally align a select number of their competitive assistance programs. The agencies, which partnered in 2009 to form the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, made the announcement in June at a White House-led forum concerning sustainability’s role in economic development and job creation. Based on the high demand for partnership assistance from municipalities and regional authorities, the three agencies will for the first time take one another’s investments into account when making grant allocation decisions. They will also use common language in notices of funding availability. HUD said this type of reciprocal arrangement will bring more coordination to federal investments and ensure their effective design.

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The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) invested $4.2 million to rehabilitate Yorkdale Terrace Townhomes in Edina, Minn. and preserve its affordability. The $17.2 million redevelopment includes repairs and energy retrofits to the development’s eight townhouse buildings and the construction of a new community building for resident service programs. All 90 units receive Section 8 project-based rental assistance. HIT purchased tax-exempt rental housing bonds issued by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to fund the rehabilitation, which is expected to create 135 jobs.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

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