Today HUD issued a notice of statutory changes, HUD Implementation of Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Provisions on Public Housing Agency Consortia, Biennial Inspections, Extremely Low-Income Definition, and Utility Allowances. The notice can be read in its entirety in todays Federal Register. The effective date is July 1, 2014. HUD will follow this notice with rulemaking within six months.
The summary section of the notice explains:
The general provisions of the 2014 Appropriations Act include five statutory changes to the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.) (1937 Act) that are designed to reduce administrative burdens on PHAs, enable PHAs to better target assistance to families in need of such assistance, and reduce Federal costs. Expediting the implementation of these provisions through notice will help PHAs to benefit from the changes in the law sooner than if implementation was accomplished solely through public rulemaking. The only statutory change that is applicable to multifamily project-based section 8 programs is the added definition of extremely low-income in section 238. For all other statutory changes, the changes provided in this notice apply only to the public housing and section 8 voucher programs.
· Section 212 of the 2014 Appropriations Act amends the definition of a PHA to include a consortium of such entities.
· Section 220 allows PHAs to comply with the requirement to inspect assisted dwelling units during the term of a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract by conducting biennial housing quality inspections instead of annual inspections. PHAs are also able to utilize alternative inspection methods to demonstrate that housing meets the housing quality requirements under the voucher program.
· Section 238 creates a statutory definition of extremely low-income families, which is defined as very low-income families whose incomes do not exceed the higher of the Federal poverty level or 30 percent of Area Median Income.
· Section 242 establishes a cap on the utility allowance for families leasing oversized units. The cap is set at an amount based on family size rather than the size of the unit leased, with the ability to set a higher amount to provide a reasonable accommodation to the family of a person with disabilities, harmonizing the utility allowance standard with the payment standard requirement.