The MA Department of Housing and Community Development issued this notice:
DHCD has received an award of 917 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) under the American Rescue Plan. These are tenant-based vouchers available to 1) homeless; 2) at-risk of homelessness; 3) fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking; or 4) recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the household’s housing instability. Please review PIH Notice 2021-15 and visit www.hud.gov/ehv for additional information on this program.
We are inviting you to attend a stakeholder Listening Session to gather your thoughts, comments, and ideas as we work to implement this new program. DHCD is hosting two Listening Sessions on Wednesday, July 7, one of which will occur in the evening to accommodate schedules. Details and registration links can be found below. We encourage you to share this with other relevant stakeholders and especially people that may have lived experience (including the link below for written comments).
If you cannot attend a listening session or would rather submit written comments, DHCD is utilizing Microsoft Forms to collect comments related to EHVs. Please click this LINK to access the Form. Written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 9, 2021.
DHCD is requesting stakeholder comments and feedback related to 7 topic areas. You do not need to comment on every topic. Please organize your written and/or oral comments within the appropriate topic. You can find those topics below.
We look forward to a productive conversation with all of our stakeholders around these critical resources.
EHV Listening Session Zoom Registration
11:30 a.m. session:
When: Jul 7, 2021 11:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
6:00 p.m. session:
When: Jul 7, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
EHV Listening Session Topics
Topic #1 – Eligible Populations and Targeting
EHV eligibility is limited to individuals and families who are (1) homeless; (2) at risk of homelessness; (3) fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking; or (4) recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having a high risk of housing instability. In determining its allocations, DHCD will first and foremost take a needs-based approach, utilizing available data. However, DHCD is also seeking additional input from stakeholders around further targeting of these vouchers to specific populations or subpopulations.
Topic #2 – Service Fees
DHCD will receive approximately $3.2M in services funding for eligible activities and expects to contract with CoCs for these services. DHCD is seeking comments on this funding to determine what activities should be targeted and/or what, if any, parameters or additional requirements should be put in place. DHCD also recognizes there may be several other funding sources that provide similar assistance and services for these populations, and is particularly interested in comments about whether to or how to leverage those funding sources.
Topic #3 – Placement Fees and Administrative Fees
As part of the EHV program, HUD is offering PHAs additional admin and placement fees. This includes an expedited issuance reporting fee ($100/EHV if voucher is reported in HUD systems within 2 weeks of issuance) and additional placement fees based on how quickly the PHA leases the voucher ($500/EHV if before November 1, 2021; $250/EHV if after November 1, 2021 but before January 1, 2022). DHCD is requesting comments on the distribution and use of these fees.
Topic #4 – Equity and Access
DHCD is committed to supporting equitable systems and resource allocation so as to address historical inequity created by racial biases and discrimination that have been found prevalently in housing systems and policies. Those most affected by COVID, housing instability, and homelessness are disproportionately from the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and older adult communities, as well as those that live with disabilities. DHCD is seeking input on strategies to ensure an equity lens is applied to its EHV program in resource allocation and policies. We also are interested in hearing comments related to how DHCD should be ensuring geographic diversity in the allocations of these vouchers, specifically in traditionally under-served rural communities.
Topic #5 – Voucher Administration and Policies
The HUD notice provides a number of waivers for EHVs. Many are mandatory, such as allowing PHAs to receive direct referrals for these vouchers from the CoCs, whereas other waivers or requirements are discretionary. DHCD is inviting comments from stakeholders on this topic, particularly which discretionary policies DHCD should implement in the EHV program. Additionally, DHCD is seeking input on whether DHCD should request permission to apply additional flexibilities it has as a Moving to Work agency (DHCD’s HUD-approved MTW Plan can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/moving-to-work-program-mtw).
Topic #6 – Post-Move Stabilization Services
While the EHV vouchers require the PHA/CoC to make housing search services available to applicants (applicants are not required to accept services), EHV funding does not support post-move stabilization services. DHCD recognizes that not all eligible participants may need or want these services. For others, however, stabilization and case management services may be critical in keeping the family/individual housed with the voucher. DHCD is interested in comments around post-move stabilization services, specifically what resources should be used or may be available and how best to connect EHV voucher holders to those services.
Topic #7 – Additional Comments
DHCD invites stakeholder comments on any other topic or issues that may not have been covered under the previously mentioned topics.