Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - January 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Nov. 15, 2016, that fair market rents (FMRs) used for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program will be set at the ZIP code level in 24 metro areas, or small area fair market rents (SAFMRs). This new method of establishing FMRs is designed to expand neighborhood options for households living in challenging housing markets. The 24 areas will be required to implement this new ZIP code based approach to calculating the rental assistance of voucher holders starting in fiscal year 2018. For a complete list of the newly designated SAFMRs, go to www.hud.gov.

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HUD issued formal guidance Nov. 10, 2016, to public housing agencies (PHAs) and others participating in the HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The guidance specifies how to meet their fair housing, civil rights and relocation obligations during all phases of RAD’s conversion process. The notice streamlines and accelerates the RAD approval process by clearly outlining the requirements for fair housing and relocation reviews, providing guidance on what documents to submit and when to submit them and offering tools such as a comprehensive checklist to help stakeholders prepare submissions. Comments on this guidance were due Dec. 14, 2016.

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HUD announced Nov. 17, 2016, that homelessness has decreased in the United States, according to HUD’s, “2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.” The report found that homelessness continues to decline in the U.S., specifically among families with children, veterans and individuals with long-term disabling conditions. HUD stated that on a single night in January 2016, state and local agencies found that 549,928 people were homeless, which is a 14 percent decrease from January 2010. The number of families with children experiencing homelessness has declined 23 percent since 2010. The report stated that veteran homelessness dropped by 47 percent since January 2010. In addition, chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals declined by 27 percent since 2010. The goal to end homelessness is part of the Obama administration’s Opening Doors plan, which offers strategies to connect mainstream housing, health, education and human service programs as part of a coordinate plan to prevent and end homelessness.

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On Nov. 22, 2016, HUD announced a new funding formula, effective Dec. 22, 2016, for the allocation of funds through the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program. The new allocation formula, negotiated by the IHBG Formula Negotiated Rulemaking Committee (two HUD staff and representatives of 24 designated tribal governments), is authorized by section 302 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996. The regulatory changes reflect the consensus decisions reached on ways to improve and clarify the current regulations governing the IHBG Program formula. Through this program, HUD provides federal housing assistance for Indian tribes, with funds benefiting low-income families living on Indian reservations or in other American Indian and Alaska Native communities. HUD announced for fiscal year 2016 there was $660 million in grant allocations to 587 Native American tribes in 35 states, and throughout the life of the program, recipients built or acquired nearly 37,000 affordable homes and have rehabilitated more than 77,000 homes.