NAHRO Policy Team Blog

  • Emily Pasi June 15, 2011 07:49pm UTC

     During a briefing from HUD on its proposed operating reserve offset implementation plans on Monday, NAHRO made it clear to HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez that NAHRO will remain strongly opposed to this proposal and will continue its advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill against it.

     In case you missed it, HUD announced on Tuesday, June 14, in its 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress that the number of homeless persons in the U.S. remained steady between 2009 and 2010, despite the economic downturn.  The report also found that long term homelessness has decreased due to a significant increase in permanent supportive housing units.

    Around the country, college students are joining in the fight for affordable housing.  Architecture students at the University of Oregon have done the research, now they’re ready to make a difference.

     Attention NAHRO members! This summer, anyone who registers for a NAHRO seminar will be eligible to win an iPod Shuffle! A winner will be randomly selected for each seminar held in July and August. Click here to register.

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  • Jonathan Zimmerman June 13, 2011 07:23pm UTC

    On June 13, 2011, HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded FY 2010 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) project-based vouchers in the amount of $5.4 million to PHAs in 18 States to supply permanent housing and case management for 676 homeless Veterans.   For a breakdown of the rental vouchers announced by HUD and VA today please go to:  http://www.nahro.org/sites/default/files/searchable/HUDVashVoucherAwards.pdf  HUD will announce the 2011 HUD-VASH funding during the summer.

    “As our young men and women return from Afghanistan and Iraq, they deserve to be treated with dignity and honor. Yet our nation's Veterans are 50 percent more likely than the average American to become homeless,” said HUD Secretary Donovan. “These vouchers continue to get more of our Veterans off the streets and out of homeless shelters into permanent housing.”

    “Our mission is to end Veterans’ homelessness,” said VA Secretary Shinseki.  “This effort is an excellent example of how VA works with HUD and our community partners in that shared mission. The project-based vouchers will provide dedicated permanent housing for Veterans and allow them to live in support of each other, as neighbors.”

    This funding to local housing authorities is part of the Obama Administration’s strategy to end Veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015.  Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local agreements to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former Servicemen and women.

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  • Emily Pasi June 10, 2011 09:12pm UTC

    Update from Washington

    Secretary Shaun Donovan knows the HOME Investment Partnership Program well.  In a new op-ed piece, the Secretary explains what the WashingtonPost got wrong in its investigative report.

    Attention NAHRO Members! Just a reminder to PHAs to review data for Operating Fund eligibility determinations.  With slightly different calculation tools in 2011, it is important to start the process early. 

    Finally, NAHRO members, we need your help. As some of you know, the Housing Authority Insurance Group is conducting a study on the impact of potential HUD funding cuts on the communities we work to support every day. Take this survey to help explain the effects cuts to the Operating and Capital Fund programs would have on the developments and families you serve. 

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  • Emily Pasi June 10, 2011 03:31pm UTC

    Around the Web

    The Joint Center for Housing Studies recently released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011, the Center’s annual report describing the challenges facing the housing industry, with a particular emphasis on affordable housing.  With the tightening of rental markets, a record high 19 million American households are paying more than half of their income for housing, causing affordable housing residents to feel the squeeze.   

    HUD officials have been active on the Huffington Post.  According to Secretary Shaun Donovan, renovating affordable housing developments to be green not only helps the environment, but our budget in the long run as well.  And Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviñas is committed to ending pregnancy-related lending discrimination in the United States. 

    In other HUD news, the Department recently announced new details regarding the Operating Fund Submission Process.  NAHRO members can get the latest information here.  

    Attention NAHRO members! With the House Appropriations subcommittee markup looming, NAHRO is conducting a critical new Housing Choice Voucher survey for PHA’s.  The purpose of this survey is to help PHAs and NAHRO educate policymakers about the actual impacts of reduced administrative fee funding resulting from the FY 2011 spending bill. Response deadlines are quickly approaching, and your participation is needed!  For more information, check out our recent Direct Newsitem.  

    Finally, on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST the Center For Transit-Oriented Development will be holding a webinar on “Understanding Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development.”  This webinar, sponsored by The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will focus on introducing participants to the benefits, strategies, and challenges of mixed-income Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and will introduce a useful tool, the “Mixed-Income TOD Action Guide,” which helps communities develop strategies to implement mixed-income TOD. Reserve your webinar seat here.

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  • Jonathan Zimmerman June 08, 2011 01:05pm UTC

    Summary:  On June 2, 2011, HUD awarded nearly $15 million under the Family Unification Program (FUP) to fund 1,931 Housing Choice Vouchers to help reunite foster children with their parents or prevent them from ever entering the foster care system.  FUP is a program for households whose inadequate housing is the primary factor in the separation or near separation from their children.  In addition, FUP vouchers provide stable housing for young adults (ages 18-21) who left or are aging out of the foster care system, preventing them from becoming homeless. 

    In 2009, an estimated 423,773 children lived in foster care in the U.S. as case workers helped to reunite them with their families or primary caregivers. According to the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, it costs the federal government approximately $56,892 annually per family to place children into foster care.  Yet the cost to provide housing and supportive services to one family averages less than $14,000 annually. Through this investment in FUP to reunify families who are separated due to housing problems, HUD will reunite nearly 3,500 children with their parents, thus saving $74 million in annual foster care expenditures.  Cost savings are also considerable for young people aging out of foster care.  The average annual cost of a FUP voucher for young adults is $5,600 – a tenth of the estimated costs associated with undesirable outcomes such as homelessness, incarceration, and residential treatment.  View HUD's Family Unification Program (FUP) webpage      

    “With this investment of FUP vouchers, Secretary Donovan continues to demonstrate his understanding of the critical role stable housing plays in keeping families together and safe,” said Ruth White, Executive Director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare. “We applaud HUD for leading the way to kind of interagency resource sharing that will reunify thousands of children with their families, prevent homelessness among youth aging out of foster care, and ultimately reduce costs.” 

    Date of Publication:  June 2, 2011

    View the list of PHAs awarded FUP grants at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=FUPFY2010PHAlist.pdf

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  • Emily Pasi June 07, 2011 03:00pm UTC

    My name is Emily Pasi and I am the newest addition to NAHRO’s Washington, D.C. office.  During the summer months, I will be working with NAHRO as an intern dabbling in congressional relations, policy and programs, and media outreach.  This fall, I will be beginning my senior year at Penn State University. With a major concentration in public relations, I am also working on completing two minors in business and political science.

    During my years at Penn State, I have been actively involved with Penn State’s Lawrence G. Foster chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). As the 2011-2012 Event Planning Chair, I look forward to a year of exciting collaborations between PRSSA and local State College organizations.  I am also an active member of Happy Valley Communications, Penn State’s only student-run public relations firm.  As a member of HVC, I worked with client, Penn State EcoCAR, to provide advocacy, outreach, and media coverage.  EcoCAR: The Next Challenge is a three year multi-collegiate engineering competition sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal of the competition is to design and build a working fuel efficient hybrid vehicle that meets current safety standards as well as consumer acceptability. In addition, I enjoy giving back to the generous local community by volunteering at a student coffee shop as well as doing service and other philanthropic events through my sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma. 

    This summer, I will have the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to work to create affordable housing and safe, viable communities for Americans, especially those with low to moderate-incomes.  With only a week under my belt, I have already been assigned numerous tasks and learned so much.  I even had the opportunity to listen to the hearing recently held by the House Financial Services Committee on the HOME program.  I look forward to seeing what other exciting ventures are in store for me during the coming months. 

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  • Jeff Falcusan June 07, 2011 01:09pm UTC

    The NAHRO team has a new addition: Emily Pasi, our summer intern.  For the next few months Emily will be working with the Policy and Program Development staff, along with John Bohm and our Congressional Relations team.  She will be introducing herself shortly, but I'm pleased to let you know that one of her assignments will involve posting to this blog on a regular basis.  So watch this space for Emily's daily updates from Washington on housing and community development policy and programs.

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  • Jeff Falcusan June 01, 2011 01:43pm UTC

    In case you missed it, HUD posted FY 2011 formula allocations for CDBG, HOME, ESG, and HOPWA on Friday, May 27.  HUD's press release announcing the allocations is available here

    The FY 2011 year-long Continuing Resolution was signed into law on April 15, meaning that 43 days passed between the bill's enactment and HUD's announcement.  This is a significant improvement compared to the previous year.  For FY 2010, 105 days passed between the enactment of the final spending bill and the date on which HUD posted formula allocations.  The gap for  FY 2009 was 54 days, and the gap for FY 2008 was a mere 27 days.

    Last year NAHRO originated legislative language that would require the HUD Secretary to notify CPD formula program grantees of their allocations not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Transportation/HUD appropriations act.  This language was included in various versions of the full FY 2011 Transportation/HUD spending bill considered by the House and Senate in 2010, but the provision was not ultimately included in the final FY 2011 year-long CR.  NAHRO will formally recommend to appropriators that the requirement be made a part of the FY 2012 Transportation/HUD appropriations bill.  

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  • Jeff Falcusan May 24, 2011 01:32pm UTC

    NAHRO and its partners recently submitted the following letter to the editor of the Washington Post:

    The undersigned national organizations representing elected officials and housing practitioners are strong supporters of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.   We are disappointed that the Post’s recent reporting on the program has favored misleading, blanket assertions while ignoring HOME’s twenty-year track record of success providing decent, safe and affordable housing opportunities for millions of low- and moderate-income Americans.

    Simply put, HOME works.  Since its inception under the George H.W. Bush administration, HOME has financed over one million units of affordable housing.  Every HOME dollar leverages four additional dollars, with more than $80 billion leveraged over two decades. This investment in affordable housing improves lives, transforms neighborhoods, and strengthens local economies. Given our nation’s burgeoning economic recovery and persistent affordable housing shortage, HOME funding is needed now more than ever. 

    Finally, while we stand ready to work with HUD to ensure that every dollar of HOME funding is used responsibly, it must be noted that the overwhelming majority of practitioners administering HOME funds are dedicated public servants who care deeply about the families and communities they serve.  They know there is no shortage of HOME success stories. We encourage the Post to seek out and share those stories with its readers.

    National Association of Counties
    National League of Cities
    United States Conference of Mayors
    Council of State Community Development Agencies
    National Association for County Community and Economic Development
    National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
    National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies
    National Community Development Association
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  • Jeff Falcusan April 26, 2011 02:13pm UTC

    Have you been wondering why HUD hasn't released the final report on the Capital Needs Assessment?  You're not alone.  As recently as last October, the Department assured the industry that the results of the CNA would be unveiled by November 2010. The study, conducted independently of the Physical Needs Assessment by Abt Associates, used a small sample to create an estimate of the capital needs backlog of the public housing portfolio.  For years, the industry has contended that the public housing portfolio's backlog of unmet capital needs is in excess of $30 billion, while the current administration has typically referred to an estimated range of $20-30 billion.  Given the current budgetary climate, having an up-to-date figure is critically important as we make the case for additional federal investment in the public housing stock.

    In the upcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor, we will provide an update on our efforts in opposition to the administration's proposal to impose an offset against PHA's operating reserves for 2012.  The uncertainty created by that proposal and by HUD's assertion that operating subsidy reserves may not be used for capital expenditures (including extraordinary maintenance and property betterments) is having a deleterious effect on PHAs' planning efforts and on the ability of agencies to properly maintain their public housing units.  Unfortunately, HUD's lack of transparency regarding its plans for implementing the proposed offset has only amplified this negative impact.

    The need to resolve the uncertainty created by the Department regarding the use of operating subsidy and reserves for capital expenditures is even more urgent given that the final FY 2011 funding bill slashes the Capital Fund appropriation by 20 percent compared to FY 2010.  NAHRO believes it is imperative that the Department reverse course by reconsidering the offset proposal and clarifying that certain capital expenditures may be funded using operating subsidy, including reserves.

    Returning to the CNA:  It is painfully obvious that the final CNA report is a key piece of information that should be considered as the debate over the offset proposal and the appropriate use of reserves plays out.  NAHRO would contend that it is irresponsible for the Department to suppress the release of this important information while simultaneously pursuing major policy changes that will, if enacted, drastically limit the ability of PHAs to responsibly maintain their public housing properties.  To that end, NAHRO has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the final CNA report.  HUD has not yet responded to NAHRO’s request.

    We will of course keep you posted.

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