The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued several waivers regarding requirements for various programs because of COVID-19. This summary focuses on waivers that directly affect tenants and voucher holders.
Waivers for both public housing and voucher
The public meeting requirement for public housing authority (PHA) 5 year plans and annual plans is waived. HUD provided alternative deadlines for some PHA to complete their plans.
Annual recertifications for public housing, housing choice voucher (HCV) and project based voucher (PBV) are delayed. All recertifications need to be done by December 31, 2020. PHAs can forgo third party verification and accept self-certification as the highest form of verification. Self-certification can be done by telephone, email or mail. Recertifications do not need to be done in person.
Third party verification for interim reexaminations because of decrease in income is waived through July 31, 2020. Self-certification can be accepted as the highest form of verification.
PHAs can extend Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) plans for up to two years for good cause. COVID-19 is good cause to extend a FSS plan through December 31, 2020.
Notice of a PHA opening a waiting list can be posted on the PHAs website and voicemail through July 31, 2020.
HCV and PBV
Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections are delayed. Through July 31, 2020, owners can certify that they have no reasonable basis to know of life threatening conditions at the property. Inspections must occur by October 31, 2020.
For initial HQS inspections, through July 31, 2020 there is a 30 day extension for non-life threatening repairs to 60 days and payment can begin while repairs are occurring.
Occupancy will be allowed if the unit passed an alternative inspection in the last 24 months. A new HQS inspection must be done no later than October 31, 2020.
Biannual HQS inspections are delayed to no later than October 31, 2020.
PHAs can make changes to their Admissions and Continuing Occupancy Policy (ACOP) without approval of their Board. The Board must approve changes no later than July 31, 2020.
The community service requirement is suspended until March 31, 2021.
Families with income exceeding the maximum income for two consecutive years can remain in their unit at their current rent until the next annual recertification.
For Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), providers can do less frequent income verification, allow verification of income remotely including self-certification by phone or email for fiscal year 2020 grants.
IHBG funds can be used for public health for fiscal year 2020 grants.
IHBG funds can be used to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 for fiscal year 2020 grants.
Indian Community Development Block Grant funds can be used for emergency payments for low and moderate income individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. Initially, payments are limited to 3 months. (PIH Notice 2020-05, April 10, 2020.)