Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs – July 2019

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Transportation-Housing and Urban Development subcommittee of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved May 23 its $75.8 billion fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bill, which includes a $3.7 billion (a 6.9 percent increase) for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding compared to FY 2019. The bill provides gross appropriations of $57.5 billion for HUD, which is $13.4 billion (30 percent) more than President Donald Trump’s budget request. The bill is H.R. 3163, and it was introduced into the House June 6.

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The $19.1 billion in federal assistance to areas hurt by natural disasters was approved June 3, and was sent to President Trump for approval. The bill includes more than $2.2 billion in community development block grant disaster recovery funds. The funding would go to disaster-affected regions in the Southeast, Midwest, California and Puerto Rico. 

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HUD published May 20 a notice seeking permission to identify families that had their participation in a HUD rental assistance program terminated and still owe a debt to a public housing authority. HUD seeks to find out the amount of the debt, any repayment agreement, any bankruptcy filing indication and the reason the family had its tenancy terminated. HUD will accept comments through July 19.

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The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced May 10 a series of incentives to encourage affordable multifamily property owners to invest in opportunity zones (OZs). FHA will reduce application fees for certain affordable housing programs in OZs and will designate a team of underwriters to speed up the processing of those applications. Fees for properties with at least 90 percent of units eligible for Section 8 or low-income housing tax credit residents will be reduced by two-thirds. The incentives are available immediately for affordable housing properties that haven’t applied. HUD estimates the changes will spur approximately $100 million investment in OZs.

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HUD published May 10 a proposed rule that would prohibit financial assistance for public housing and other assisted housing programs to noncitizen residents, except those in certain categories. The proposed rule would require the verification of eligible immigration status for all recipients of assistance. Comments are due by July 9.

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HUD published June 3 a notice inviting comments on a proposal to revise information collected from state allocating agencies for HUD’s low-income housing tax credit database. The proposal would require HUD to establish standards and definitions for the information that state agencies provide. HUD would assist state agencies with creating systems to compile and submit information and would work with other federal agencies to minimize duplicative reporting requirements for properties assisted under multiple housing programs. Comments are due by July 3.

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HUD released a notice May 6 providing supplemental information on the process for implementing public housing income limits due to the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016. The notice provides background on how to calculate the overincome limit and guidance for public housing agencies on how to implement the income limit for continued occupancy in public housing, including documentation, notification and tracking requirements.

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HUD published a notice June 5 seeking comment on proposed changes to how it calculates fair market rents (FMR) for the housing choice voucher program and other HUD-financed housing. The changes include using metropolitan and regional gross rent index forecasts to calculate and apply more locally based trend factors to address concerns of FMR accuracy and using adjacent ZIP code data to help calculate small area FMRs where ZIP code-level estimates are unavailable or unreliable. Comments are due by July 5.
 

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