HUD Provides Fair Housing Funding to 51 Agencies

person A.J. Johnson today 11/14/2021

On November 3, 2021, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) awarded $13.6 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to enable 51 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies to conduct a wide range of fair housing enforcement, education, and outreach activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the activities that will be conducted by the agencies is addressing discriminatory practices in underserved communities (i.e., minority neighborhoods).

The funds, which were awarded under FHIP’s Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI), are the first ARP competitive grants that focus directly on the unequal impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations. Specific activities that will be carried out include responding to housing inquiries, investigating fair housing complaints, conducting fair housing testing, providing legal assistance, conducting education and outreach, and covering costs associated with providing services related to the pandemic.

Another $5,757 million in ARP funding will be made available to eligible applicants that did not receive funding in this first round.

Organizations in 26 states and DC received funds, ranging from $75,000 to $350,000. The types of organizations that received funding include legal aid agencies, fair housing testing agencies, and educational organizations. New York and Ohio both received six awards while California and Illinois each received four. Other states receiving grants are:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Housing operators in these states should expect increased fair housing testing and compliance actions during the upcoming 12 months as a result of these grants.

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Virginia Housing Looking for Compliance Staff

Virginia Housing (formerly Virginia Housing & Development Authority) has three positions open in Compliance & Asset Management. If interested, you may access the position descriptions at https://us63.dayforcehcm.com/CandidatePortal/en-US/VHDA. Virginia Housing (VH) is one of the premier Housing Finance Agencies in the nation and I have had the privilege of working with them for more than 40 years. The Agency provides an excellent work environment and has a comprehensive benefits program, including medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. VH also has both long- and short-term disability plans and various options for retirement plans. If you (or someone you know) are looking for an excellent opportunity on the public side of the affordable housing field, I encourage you to check out the open positions at VH and consider applying.

Rural Development Suspends Interim Recertification Requirements for COLA Recipients

On November 10, 2022, the Rural Development Service released an Unnumbered Letter granting a temporary exception to tenant recertification requirements. On October 13, 2022, the Social Security Administration announced there will be an 8.7% increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2023. This will increase the average SS payment by more than $140 per month starting in January. The RD Section 515 program requires that tenant households be recertified at least annually or when household income changes by $100 or more per month. Since the increase would require recertifications for most Social Security recipients, the Agency is temporarily waiving the recertification requirement for tenants whose household income, regardless of income type, has increased by more than $100 but less than $200. Accordingly, during the Exception period, tenants will not be required to recertify unless their household income changes by $200 or more per month. This temporary waiver will be in place for all of 2023 and will expire on December 31, 2023. During the period of the waiver, tenant households must be recertified at least annually or whenever a change in household income of $200 or more per month occurs. The requirement that borrowers must recertify for changes of $50 per month if the tenant requests that such change be made, is still in effect. Keep in mind, the exception does not waive the requirement for the annual renewal certifications. Owners will receive a copy of this notice from RD. Once received, the notice must be posted in a conspicuous location at the property and a copy of the notice must be provided to all tenants.

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