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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - January 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent a letter to housing providers on Nov. 9 regarding its allowance of designated senior developments to open up vacant units to Hurricane Sandy evacuees under the age of 55. The memo defined an evacuee for this exemption as someone who lived in a county declared to be a disaster area and designated for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time of Hurricane Sandy. Senior housing is ordinarily exempt from the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against familial status discrimination or discrimination against families with minor children. Under HUD’s new guidance, a private provider of senior housing anywhere in the country may make units available to evacuees under 55 and still retain the Fair Housing Act’s familial status exemption, provided that vacant units are made available to evacuees without familial-status-based restrictions. HUD will consider units occupied by evacuees under the age of 55 as unoccupied and will not count those units against the property’s requirement of 80 percent occupancy by at least one senior per unit. The exception to this would be if the housing provider places a familial status restriction such as disallowing minor children. In this case, housing providers may still place the restriction against children, but units occupied by evacuees will then count against the 80 percent senior occupation minimum. More information is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD announced on Nov. 23 in the Federal Register that it has reopened the public comment period regarding the implementation of smoke-free policies for both public housing and multifamily housing. HUD asks resident councils, advocacy groups, housing providers and the general public to submit comments on best practices and practical strategies for implementing smoke-free policies, ideas for overcoming potential obstacles in implementing the policies and methods for supporting residents and housing providers in the transition to smoke-free housing. HUD also seeks input from housing providers that have decided not to implement a smoking ban on their properties. HUD initially posted a notice requesting public comments on Oct. 4 and the deadline was originally Nov. 5. Comments may now be submitted until Jan. 22, 2013. More information is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD published a notice in the Federal Register on Nov. 27 describing closeout requirements and additional regulations waived for grantees receiving grants under the three rounds of funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP): the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act). Funds awarded under these three rounds of NSP are meant to help stabilize neighborhoods struggling with foreclosed and abandoned properties. The notice updates the Unified NSP notice of 2010 and details alternative requirements and regulatory waivers for the program. An NSP grant will be considered closed out when HUD determines that: all non-closing costs to be paid with NSP funds have been incurred, NSP-funded activities financed by escrow accounts/loan guarantees/similar mechanisms have been completed, not less than 25 percent of the grantee’s NSP grant was used to house those whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area median income (AMI) and other agreed-upon grantee responsibilities/laws/regulations have been carried out. Within 90 calendar days of determining that the closeout criteria have been met, the grantee will submit a final quarterly report in the Disaster Recovery Grant Reporting (DRGR) system to HUD. HUD will then prepare a closeout agreement based on the report and will cancel any unused portion of the grant, as shown in the DRGR. Costs paid with NSP funds that were not audited previously will be subject to coverage in the grantee’s next single audit. A section on closeout procedures for program income, land banks and long-term affordability was added to the Unified NSP, in addition to a section on technical corrections. Read the notice at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

 

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Department of Housing and Urban Development

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