Sneak Preview: HUD Proposes To Amend Housing Program Regulations

Jerry Ashworth
September 26, 2019 at 09:24:58 ET
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(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is seeking public comment on a proposed rule in which the agency, among other actions, would change the requirements for income reviews of families in public housing and the Section 8 assisted housing program, as well as in other HUD housing programs, and would set maximum limits on a family’s assets to maintain eligibility for public and Section 8 housing.

The proposal to amend regulations at 24 C.F.R. Parts 5, 92, 93, 574, 960, 966 and 982 aims to put into effect sections 102, 103 and 104 of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) (Pub. L. 114-201), which made significant changes to the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. HUD states that HOTMA’s statutory provisions “are intended to streamline administrative processes and reduce burdens on public housing agencies (PHAs),” as well as private owners providing Section 8 rental housing. In addition, the law aligns policies and procedures across HUD’s program offices, where appropriate, to include programs that are administered by HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development, which includes the HOME Investment Partnership, Housing Trust Fund and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS programs. “Alignment will reduce disparities between the programs and better simplify program administration for HUD grantees and manage multiple programs,” HUD added.

Section 102 of HOTMA amended the Housing Act to revise the frequency of family income reviews and the calculation of income. It also requires HUD, in consultation with other federal agencies, to develop electronic procedures enabling PHAs to access income determinations for other federal means-tested programs (e.g., Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). This section also changed the definition of “income” and “adjusted income” for each member of a PHA or Section 8 household who is 18 years or older, and “unearned income” for each dependent who is less than 18 years old. Further, section 102 changed the definition of “income” to “annual adjusted income” for the Enhanced Voucher program, and eliminated the requirement that review of family income shall be made no less frequently than annually for project-based housing.

To comply with section 102, the proposed rule would revise the family income review requirements under the public housing and Section 8 programs. Families under current rules may request an interim re-examination of family income because of any changes since the last examination, and the PHA or Section 8 owner must make the determination within a reasonable period of time after the request. The proposed rule would revise the regulation to state that a PHA or Section 8 owner may decline to process a family’s request for an interim re-examination if the PHA or owner estimates that the family’s adjusted income will decrease by an amount that is less than 10% of the family’s annual adjusted income. Further, the PHA or owner may still choose to process the family’s request if it estimates that the family’s adjusted income will decrease by less than 10%, provided it established a standard for conducting the interim re-examination “that is more generous to the family, and the PHA estimates the family’s adjusted income will decrease by an amount that exceeds the owner or PHA threshold.”

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time here.)

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