Legislative Updates

AHMA-PSW’s Weekly Affordable Housing News 03/22/18

  • FAST Act Interim Final Rule Effective March 12, 2018:  On December 12, 2017, HUD published an interim final rule in the Federal Register that amends the regulatory language for PIH and Multifamily Housing rental assistance programs.  This interim rule went into effect on March 12, 2018. The rule aligns the current regulatory flexibilities with those provided in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. In addition, it extends two of the administrative streamlining changes that were adopted in 2016 for the Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing programs to Multifamily programs. The interim final rule implements FAST Act provisions that allow public housing agencies (PHAs) and multifamily housing owners to conduct full income recertification for families with 90 percent or more of their income from fixed-income sources every three years instead of annually. This interim final rule also aligns the current regulatory flexibilities with those provided in the FAST Act by modifying the earlier streamlining regulations. This makes the procedures for families meeting the fixed-income threshold as similar as possible to families who do not have 90 percent or more of their income from fixed sources, but still have some fixed income.  In addition to streamlining fixed income stipulations, the interim final rule also indicates that an owner may: Make utility reimbursements of $45 or less per quarter ($15 a month) on a quarterly basis.  Accept family declaration of assets under $5,000.  Third-party verification of all family assets will be required every 3 years.  Use of streamlined procedures authorized by the rule are all at the option of the owner and not required. A FAQ file is available on HUD.gov.  Additional FAQ’s and a supporting Housing Notice are currently being developed.  Project owners are encouraged to submit any questions to their assigned Contract Administrator or local HUD office.
  • HUD SECRETARY CARSON LAUNCHES NEW FINANCIAL CONTROLS TO ENHANCE DEPARTMENT’S FISCAL STRENGTH AND INTEGRITY:  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson today announced new measures to protect the financial integrity of the agency and correct lax internal processes and controls.  Secretary Carson directed HUD’s newly appointed Chief Financial Officer, Irving Dennis, to design and implement a transformation plan and lead an internal taskforce to combat waste, fraud and abuse.  In a statement announcing these measures, Secretary Carson said the Department’s current financial controls are outdated:   “We simply need to do better. An updated system of internal controls will provide our agency with greater certainty that the dollars we spend are spent in a manner that satisfies all laws and regulations, and most importantly, the American people. We will approach this as any business would by increasing transparency and accountability.  In the end, we will also support a culture that respects the fact that HUD funds belong to the public.” HUD’s new plan will consist of:
  • Agency-wide Governance: Implementing an Agency-wide governance structure that allows for more oversight, transparency, monitoring and accountability; Finance Transformation: Developing a plan to restore discipline and accountability in the financial and reporting systems across the Agency. Grant Modernization: Developing a holistic grant modernization plan to improve grant processes and reporting, including improved IT systems; and Process Improvement: Promoting a HUD culture focused on documented and repeatable process with a focus on transparency and cost reasonableness.  As part of this effort, HUD’s Office of the CFO, with support from the Agency’s Office of the General Counsel, are currently reviewing processes to ensure HUD is within all guidelines and utilizing resources effectively.
  • The CTCAC Meeting scheduled for March 21 at 11:00 has been changed to March 21 at 1:30 PM, or upon adjournment of the CDLAC meeting
  • Check out HUD’s Multifamily Energy and Water Efficiency Resources There are plenty of energy and water efficiency resources available to multifamily property owners, but locating the right one can be a challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily team has responded by creating a new Multifamily Energy and Water Efficiency Resources page on the HUD Exchange. The resources are categorized by topic and cover everything from Retrofit Planning to Resident Engagement.  Don’t know where to start? The Utility Benchmarking resources are designed to help multifamily property owners catalogue their building portfolios and analyze energy and water performance over time.  Wondering what to do with all that utility data? Check out the Retrofit Planning resources, which use energy and water consumption data to suggest targeted upgrades for the most inefficient properties.  In the dark about how to pay for building upgrades? Browse resources on Retrofit Finance, including an interactive ‘Financing Navigator,’ database of state-level energy efficiency incentives, and a financial decision tree.  Trying to choose the best products for your properties? View Building and Product Standards for links to ASHRAE, IECC, ENERGY STAR®, and WaterSense standards and products.  Want to ensure optimal performance of your building systems? The Operations and Maintenance resources help property owners and managers incorporate green and healthy practices into current operations and maintenance procedures.  Starting a new campaign to change resident behavior? Use Resident Engagement Toolkits to lower your utility costs by creating your own resident energy efficiency education and engagement plan.
  • Rural Gateway Peer-to-Peer Conference Call: STEM:  A Discussion of Best Practices in Rural Communities – March 28, 2018 – 2:00 PM EDT.  Rural Gateway Peer-to-Peer Conference Call
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM):  A Discussion of Best Practices in Rural Communities.  The Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) invites you to take part in our next Peer-to-Peer conference call. Scheduled for March 28, 2018, this call will offer participants the opportunity to learn more about the HUD STEM initiative that is targeted to urban and rural communities.  HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing/Community and Supportive Services Division STEM Innovation Networks Initiative is a place-based program that allows public housing authorities (PHAs) to work with disconnected and school age youth in HUD assisted communities to participate in hands-on STEM activities designed to engage, excite and inspire students. State of the art equipment and technology is used to impart learning strategies to spark and sustain a career in STEM. The Initiative’s comprehensive workshops engage and mentor participants in a myriad of interesting activities related to STEM fields. For success to occur, a “pipeline approach” is critical where students receive continuous learning, training, exposure, and hands on application from a young age through entry into the job/career market. Reinforcement is encouraged in the home/community with attention to address barriers that might hinder success, such as household challenges and school difficulties.  Join HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development in an open forum on STEM opportunities in rural communities.
    • Speakers will include:  Jackie L. Williams, Ph.D., Moderator, Director, Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Jerryl Bennett, HUD Liaison, Federal Interagency STEM Initiatives, Office of Public and Indian Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Topics to be discussed: HUD’s STEM Innovation Networks Initiative; Public Housing Authorities serving rural communities; STEM Technology.  Please RSVP by email to rhed@hud.gov no later than close of business on Monday, March 26, 2018. Please include your name and organization.  Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The 60-minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session.
  • The Office of Multifamily Housing Programs issued an Administrative Guidance Memo on March 8, 2018 clarifying language found in the 2016 MAP Guide.  The 2016 MAP Guide states that an equity bridge loan (EBL) may be the obligation of the investor(s), the limited or general partner(s), or of the mortgagor itself, but may be secured with a pledge of tax credits and/or of limited partners’ or investor members’ interests in the project’s ownership entity.  In response to questions raised by stakeholders, the Memo confirms that HUD will allow EBLs to be secured with a pledge of the general partner’s interest as well.    The Memo is available on the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs webpage to download and print at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/mfh/memos_letters .  This Memo is effective immediately and will be reflected in the next revision of the MAP Guide. Please contact Elizabeth H. Arteaga, Housing Program Officer, Office of Multifamily Housing Production with any questions or comments at (202) 402-3584, or elizabeth.h.arteaga@hud.gov .
  • Acting Asset Management Division Director rotation for San Francisco is listed below.  Contact information can be found here MFWest-Home:
    • Gwen Kelleher:  Begin 2/9 through 3/17
    • Ramona Mitchell: Begin 3/17 through 4/14
    • James Raymond:  Begin 4/15 through 5/12
    • Erin Ferguson: Begin 5/13 through 6/9
    • Silvia Cuellar: Begin 6/10 through 7/7
  •  AHMA-PSW submitted comments on the PBCA National and Regional bid proposal on behalf of our members.  HUD has now stated “Based on the extensive comments received in response to the draft solicitation, HUD is taking time to perform additional due diligence to ensure all comments and recommendations are considered in developing the final approach to obtaining the services to replace the current PBCA services. This solicitation is cancelled in its entirety. Future requirements will be initiated through a new solicitation, which is expected to take several more months to develop.”  Advocacy works!