Property Management: Affordable Housing Takes the Stage in Washington, D. C.

 

Affordable Housing Takes the Stage in Washington, D. C.

The week of October 23 was busy for the affordable housing industry. Attendees at two important meetings may have felt it was like Occupy Affordable Housing.

Between the National Affordable Housing Management Association (or NAHMA) fall meeting and the quarterly HUD TRACS meeting taking place back-to-back in Washington, D.C., there was certainly a significant amount of buzz in the capital city. The major topics discussed included the contract administration re-bid, Replacement Reserve needs at the property level, TRACS 202D schedule, White House realignment initiatives, the potential role of the super-committee recommendations on our industry, and our favorite subject, bed bugs!

As it relates to the TRACS 202D schedule, we are now looking at a starting submission date of July 1, 2012, with a four-month implementation period through Oct. 31, 2012. This schedule means that the December 2012 voucher will only be accepted in a 202D format. The push from an April to a July start was made at the request of HUD as it does not have the contractors in place to do the work needed to prepare for the new 202D specifications.

On the contract administration (CA) contract re-bid issue (affecting 42 states), a notice of funds availability (NOFA) will be published to drive the entire process. Only 11 states (including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) have new CAs in place. The other 42 states currently have six-month temporary contracts with two three-month potential extensions (a potential of 12 months under a temporary contract. During this period, no Management and Occupancy Reviews (MORs) will be conducted within these 42 states.

The two pilot initiatives on program realignments that were announced by the White House earlier this year are slowly getting off the ground. The subsidy layering review pilot looks to improve and reduce [SLRs] by requiring the State Housing and Finance Agency (HFA) and USDA-RD to enter into state-level memorandums of understanding (MOUs). Michigan already has a MOU in place, and hopes are that an additional six states will have MOUs by year-end. The second pilot is the inspection initiative designed to reduce physical inspections to one federally sponsored visit to each property, with standard sampling size, intervals, and inspector qualifications (and using REAC UPCS as the initial standard). This is moving a bit slower, but a MOU is expected to be in place by year end as well.

As we know, our country continues to experience tough economic times. The so-called Super Committee was created by an agreement between the White House and Congress and tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next 10 years.

How can the work of this committee affect the affordable housing industry? Funding for existing Section 8 and 202 programs are at risk, along with the future of the LIHTC program. Luckily for our industry, Senator Patty Murray (D) from Washington State is not only one of the members, but a co-chair as well. Senator Murray is a friend of the affordable housing industry and, hopefully, she will help to minimize cuts on these very necessary programs.

With so much activity taking place, those within the affordable housing industry have both an opportunity to assist in the advancements underway while at the same time supporting the efforts of those who are fighting on behalf of the affordable industry in Washington. Make your voice heard and help with these efforts to preserve and improve our affordable housing programs.

For one way to help, check out the HUD Rental Policy Working Group.

How do you plan to make your voice heard? Did you attend? If so, what were your thoughts? Want to learn more about property management? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 


General Manager. Affordable Housing Division, RealPage, Inc.

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Gustavo Sapiurka is vice president and general manager of RealPage, Inc., Affordable Housing. Previously, he was general manager of Domin-8 Enterprise Solution Affordable Housing Division and CEO of TCG Technologies, LLC. RealPage is a leading provider of software and related services to the affordable housing industry. For the past 24 years, Gustavo has been very active in the affordable housing industry as a member of community-sponsored task forces dealing with automation issues and as an active member of many non-profit organizations.

  • Wendy Wessing

    As the Baby Boomers age, it is clear that the need for affordable senior housing is going to explode over the next 10 years. Cuts from the 202 programs would be devastating. Our agency sees the need becoming greater and greater and would like to continue to build a few more 202PRAC projects. This fits nicely with our mission and allows us to assist some of the most vulnerable of our population with dignity and respect. Some of the seniors we work with are currently living in the most comfortable, safe and beautiful conditions of their life. What can be done, from the owners perspective, to preserve this essential funding?

    • Michael Cunningham

      Wendy, I tracked down Gustavo who wrote up this reply:

      I do agree that we need to fight very hard to keep our budget intact to support affordable housing. In the case of the 202 and PRAC programs, we can effectively make a case that we are saving the government money by taking an “aging in place” approach with these programs, in conjunction with the service coordinators, which is an essential component of this effort. As always, and especially these days, money talks and “save” is a key word in this cost-cutting climate. And of course we have a moral obligation to provide housing to our seniors and those less fortunate!

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