Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs – October 2019

Friday, October 4, 2019

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a notice of demonstration Aug. 21 that proposes a shift to the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate. HUD plans to solicit volunteers, approximately 4,500 properties, to provide a demonstration to assess all aspects of the physical inspection process of the Real Estate Assessment Center, and will include a new scoring model. HUD is soliciting comments on this proposal through Oct. 21. 

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HUD published a revised notice Sept. 5 that provides program instructions for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The notice includes revisions to eligibility and selection criteria, and the authorization for the conversion of Section 202 project rental assistance contract senior housing to Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA) or project-based voucher contracts. In addition, the notice includes an allowance for limited rent increases for public housing conversions to PBRA contracts in certain scenarios, including opportunity zones. A policy to update RAD rents every two years, with the updated rents applying to new awards issued after those established dates, was also established. This notice is effective immediately, but changes to project eligibility criteria are subject to a 30-day comment period. 

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HUD published a notice Aug. 30 of fair market rents (FMRs) for fiscal year 2020 as well as a response to public comments received on a June notice announcing two method changes in the calculation of FMRs. The June notice announced the replacement of the national trend factor with local and regional trend factors to determine FMRs. The Aug. 30 notice also included the “neighboring policy” as a next step for determining small area FMRs if the ZIP code tabulation area lacks reliable data. HUD announced that the FMRs–which apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program, Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program and other HUD programs–are effective Oct. 1 unless HUD receives a valid request for reevaluation of a specific area FMR.

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HUD announced the award of $25 million Aug. 8 to assist low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families over a three-year period. This funding is provided through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), and renews HUD’s support of 25 local programs that provide housing assistance as well as supportive services such as case management, mental health services, substance abuse services and employment training. Under the HOPWA program, HUD makes grants to cities, states and nonprofit organization to provide housing assistance and supportive services.

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HUD published program requirements Aug. 23 for the department’s new Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-Mitigation) program to nine states and five local communities. CDBG-Mitigation funds provide significant opportunity to revitalize areas that have been impacted by recent disasters and to carry out strategic activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future loss. HUD’s new program requirements will allow grantees, which include cities and state affected by natural disasters as far back as 2015, to build the capacity of governments to analyze disaster risk, adopt policies that reduce community risk, maximize available funds and support data-informed investments. 

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HUD awarded $27.8 million to 38 public housing agencies in 25 states to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards in older public housing units. The award, announced Aug. 20, will be provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund and will be used to target approximately 2,800 public housing units that house families with young children. In addition to this funding, HUD will award $330 million later this year to clean up lead-based paint and other housing-related health and safety hazards in privately owned low-income housing. 

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Department of Housing and Urban Development
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