HUD Considers Regulatory and Administrative Waivers for PHAs in Disaster Areas
HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) recently published a notice in the Federal Register listing regulatory and administrative waivers it will consider if requested by public housing agencies (PHAs) in areas officially designated by the Major Disaster Declarations (MDD) following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
PHAs may also request waivers not listed in the Federal Register. HUD will expedite all waiver requests by providing concurrent HUD headquarters and field office reviews. Typically, waiver requests are first submitted to the HUD field office and subsequently reviewed by headquarters. All approved waiver requests will be published in the Federal Register, identifying the PHAs receiving the approvals.
The Federal Register notice lists 20 potential waivers, most of which are only important to PHA staff, such as extending the time to submit financial audits or undertake energy audits. The following are potential waivers that may be important to residents:
- Allow a voucher exception payment standard of up to 150 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR); the regular exception payment standard is 110 percent of the FMR.
- Allow occupancy of more than two persons per room, provided the assisted household consents.
- Allow a PHA to provide public notices when preparing to open its voucher waiting list via its website, voicemail, or posting at its offices, instead of requiring public notices in a newspaper. HUD reminds PHAs to consider the fair housing implications of alternative notification measures, keeping in mind difficulties various approaches might cause for people with disabilities or limited English proficiency. PHAs will still be required to provide notice in minority media.
- Extend to 90 days the time frame to request “secondary verification” of immigration status from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.