Notice Provides Guidance for Meeting HTF Environmental Requirements

HUD recently posted Notice CPD-16-14, which provides guidance for meeting environmental requirements when national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) money is used for new construction and rehabilitation. The HTF is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including families experiencing homelessness. This past May, HUD allocated nearly $174 million through the nation’s HTF.

The HTF environmental provisions are found in the property standard parts of the HTF regulations and are similar to HUD-wide environmental review requirements. The notice explains that HUD implements the “National Environmental Policy Act” (NEPA) through HUD-wide environmental regulations at 24 CFR Parts 50 and 58. Part 50 environmental reviews are completed by HUD staff, while Part 58 environmental reviews are completed by Responsible Entities, which are states, tribes, and units of general local government. All HUD-assisted projects are required to undergo an environmental review.

Because the HTF statute does not give HUD discretion over a state’s selection of individual projects, HUD’s Office of General Counsel determined that individual project selection is not a federal action to which the NEPA environmental assessment requirements would apply. Unlike some other HUD statutes, the HTF statute does not include a provision for environmental reviews.

Nevertheless, the notice explains that HUD is committed to NEPA’s principles and has therefore developed and incorporated environmental provisions in the HTF regulations as components of the property standards at 24 CFR § 93.301(f)(1) and (2) for new construction and rehabilitation, respectively. The state, state-designated entity, or sub-grantee administering the HTF is responsible for ensuring that projects funded by the HTF meet the property standards at the time of project completion.