HUD official provides updates to LeadingAge members

Regulation | April 16, 2020 | by Juliana Bilowich

On Thursday, April 16, Toby Halliday, Director of HUD Multifamily Housing’s Office of Asset Management and Portfolio Oversight (OAMPO), spoke on LeadingAge's 3:30pm COVID-19 call.

On April 16, HUD’s Director of Asset Management and Portfolio Oversight (OAMPO) within the Office of Multifamily Housing provided updates to LeadingAge members. Halliday joined the LeadingAge daily COVID-19 update call at 3:30 EST to provide updates on agency activities and respond to questions collected in advance.To view the recording, please click here. To register for future calls, click here

Multifamily Housing's Asset Management Director discusses vacancies, reporting, and CARES Act funding

On the April 16, HUD OAMPO Director Toby Halliday provided updates on the following key items and responded to member questions provided in advance. 

  • Questions: Regarding questions the Agency has answered for LeadingAge on behalf of our members, Halliday estimates the number to be around 100 questions answered in the past few weeks. The agency has also answered hundreds more questions from stakeholders across the country.
  • Agency Guidance: Throughout his updates, Halliday refers providers to the regularly-updated MFH Q&A document and the MFH recorded updates. The document is available here.
  • Stimulus Checks: For individual stimulus funds - both economic rebate checks and unmeployment insurance assistance - HUD will imminently issue guidance on how it should be handled as far as income goes; LeadingAge has requested HUD guidance clarifying that any stimulus support be disregarded as income and not counted for the purposes of adjusting rent calculations, triggering interim recertifications, or impacting program eligibility.
  • Income Recertifications: For both annual and interim recertifications, Halliday referred to the guidance provided in the FAQ document. The guidance provides options for completing recertifications without the need for face-to-face contact. LeadingAge has requested that HUD make permanent the temporary streamlining options, such as electronic signatures and documentation, so that staff do not need to track down original document for verification at a later date.
  • Evictions: Regarding the evictions moratorium, HUD has added a number of answers to the FAQ document to make the process very clear for residents, and the agency is working on a resident rights and responsibilities brochure that should be out soon. LeadingAge urged HUD and Congress to clarify and provide support for residents and providers for instances where rent is not currently being paid and where there will be significant ongoing financial strain.
  • Forbearance: Halliday refered providers to guidance for both Multifamily insured loans and HUD direct loans for relief from payments during the crisis; LeadingAge has requested an expansion of the kinds of financial relief and support providers can access during this time.
  • CARES Act Funding: Halliday said the agency is very pleased with the new funding that will flow through HUD, and that most of the money is designated as increased subsidy to offset tenant income recertifications. In addition, Halliday cautioned providers that the new service coordinator funding will be allocated across the portfolio and will provide a relatively small but hopefully helpful supplement. LeadingAge requested that HUD allocate the funds as quickly and as equitably as possible.
  • Local Health Departments: Regarding what providers should do if their health departments are not responsive, Halliday said that HUD is trying to position itself to provide support for owners during this time without interfering with the guidance of health departments or local law enforcement.
  • Move-ins and Move-outs: Halliday said that the agency understands the concern around spreading the disease, but wants owners to keep turning over their units so that new tenants can access housing during this time. The agency has guidance on how tenants can be screened while minimizing exposure. Halliday says that the agency may look at expanding their vacancy claims process. LeadingAge has requested that the agency financially incentivize owners to prioritize the health of existing residents and staff by honoring and expanding vacancy claims during this time. 
  • Accounts Receivable: The agency has guidance related to options for accessing reserve and other financial supports to help offset costs. LeadingAge has requested additional and urgent financial support for providers.
  • Reporting Illness: HUD does not have an expectation for providers to report cases to family because it knows that providers in some cases may not even be aware of cases on site. HUD is mindful of HIPAA requirements and also is aware of putting owners in a position of collecting medical information from residents. HUD has invited owners to share reports of illness but in most regions is not actively reaching out to collect the information. Any information submitted to the Account Executive is for HUD awareness about the portfolio and prepares a daily update of what they are hearing to share it up through HUD Multifamily.

LeadingAge will continue to work with HUD staff to get remaining questions answered.

Questions remain as HUD navigates crisis

As the global health crisis continues to unfold, HUD has been a partner to LeadingAge and our members. The previous weeks have brought a flurry of agency activity, including a temporary suspensions of physical and file inspections, electronic options for income recertifications, flexibility for accessing Reserve for Replacement funds, and forbearance relief for 202 direct and MFH loans. The agency this week added several pages to the Question and Answer document issued by HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing, including information about the current evictions moratorium and some insight into how the agency intends to handle vacancies.

However, questions remain as affordable housing providers and HUD continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, many affordable housing providers have questions about HUD’s projected timeline for getting funding out from the CARES Act, and additional support that HUD and Congress can provide for properties that are seeing their costs go way up for cleaning services, security, and staff time, while rent receipts sharply decline.

Providers also need clarity around what “self-certification means for interim and annual income recertifications and how HUD whether HUD will reimburse properties for units held vacant in response to a state or local “stay-at-home” order.

LeadingAge requests regulatory continued relief and support
On Monday, LeadingAge sent the agency an updated list of 19 regulatory requests. The letter urges HUD to utilize new waiver authority to allocate new CARES Act funding for Section 202, PBRA, and Service Coordinators as quickly as possible. The LeadingAge requests also cover a variety of relief needed by providers and residents, such as vacancy claim expansions, relief for strained property operating accounts, broad electronic signature and document processing, and deadline extensions for RAD and CNAs.

LeadingAge will continue to update our regulatory requests. Agency staff have responded to LeadingAge’s previous requests, as well as to regular questions on behalf of providers, with updated information, forthcoming guidance, or their intended actions on requested relief.