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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs – September 2019

Legislation to permanently authorize and reform the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program was introduced July 11 in the House of Representatives and July 26 in the Senate. The Reforming Disaster Recovering Act of 2019 would require a one-for-one replacement of public housing and other federally subsidized rental housing in the case of CDBG-DR funding after natural disasters. The legislation would also maintain a requirement that at least 70 percent of CDBG-DR funds benefit low- and moderate-income households. The legislation would require that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocate federal disaster assistance money within 60 days of when Congress approves CDBG-DR funding.

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Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., and 14 co-sponsors introduced legislation July 12 to strengthen enforcement of inspections in housing subsidized by HUD. A press release from Lawson’s office said that H.R. 3745, The HUD Inspection Act of 2019, would create tougher standards for required physical conditions and provide HUD with greater enforcement authority. Under the legislation, HUD would work with tenants or tenant organizations to develop plans and timetables if property owners don’t address issues raised during inspections, with HUD being able to impose various penalties if owners don’t correct the issues. HUD would also be required to publish a quarterly report of properties with unsatisfactory reviews. A copy of the bill is at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing published a new fourth chapter for its Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook in July as part of an ongoing, incremental update. The payment standards chapter includes updated information on small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), including what a public housing agency should consider in determining whether to apply SAFMRs to project-based vouchers. The updated chapter is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing issued a memorandum July 8 reminding owners and management agents of private HUD-assisted multifamily properties of existing guidance regarding obligations to residents. The memo reminds recipients that owners must notify residents of planned physical inspections of their units and follow prior-notice requirements; owners must make physical inspection documents available for review and comment; owners and managers must consult residents before establishing or making significant changes to house rules; responses by an owner or manager to a resident complaint to HUD must be provided to the person who made the complaint; and owners and managers are encouraged to submit supporting information with self-certification of completed repairs.

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The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the official opening of the 1,396-apartment Ocean Bay Apartments in June. The property is a $560 million rehabilitation of a public housing complex under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The Ocean Bay Apartments development was completed in two years and the complex is NYCHA’s first conversion under RAD. Financing included more than $170 million in equity low-income housing tax credits. 

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The Virgin Island Housing Authority (VIHA) plans to convert its entire 3,000-apartment portfolio over the next several years, primarily under the RAD program, according to Robert Graham, VIHA’s executive director. Much of the VIHA’s portfolio needs major capital improvements. VIHA expects the cost to be about $830 million, which will include $330 million in LIHTC equity. The rehabilitation of properties has already started and will continue for nearly a decade.

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The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso was awarded LIHTCs totaling nearly $30 million in its latest step to convert its entire portfolio through the RAD program. One award is for $15 million in 9 percent LIHTCs to finance the construction of Patriot Place Apartments in northeast El Paso, while $14.4 million in 4 percent LIHTCs will be used to renovate and remodel two apartment complexes built almost 50 years ago–the DeWetter Apartments and the Kathy White Apartments.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

Novogradac

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