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President’s Forum: HUD Regulations, Requirements Should be Eased So HAs Can Focus on Residents’ Needs

John Hodge, PHADA President

These are unprecedented times. Dealing with the coronavirus outbreak is understandably our highest priority as we all work to preserve the health and safety of the residents and staffs in our communities. As always, PHADA can help be our voice in Washington and advocate for our needs to those at HUD and on Capitol Hill. With this in mind, I recently wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson on the public health crisis, and our staff sent similar communications to Congress. PHADA’s complete letter can be found here.

The association has asked HUD to take all necessary steps to waive or suspend rules and regulations that require actions by HAs and/or their residents to engage in personal interactions, or to complete steps and tasks that cannot be effectively completed because of the adoption of social distancing practices. Specifically, we have urged the Department to immediately waive or suspend various activities/requirements/regulations until further notice, or until further guidance is provided and the Centers For Disease Control or other authorities.

PHADA’s letter noted that in-person contact with inspectors is a concern for many seniors and those with compromised health. Given the dire consequences of the virus, it seems obvious that all inspection-related requirements be temporarily waived to minimize risks to assisted households. To HUD’s credit, it announced on March 13 that all REAC inspections would be suspended. 

The Department should go further than this modest step. In addition to all REAC and NSPIRE physical inspections, we advocated that the requirements for HQS and UPCS annual inspections to be completed at least once every 12 months be lifted, too. To further minimize personal interactions, PHADA also asked that annual and interim recertifications/redeterminations be eased as well.

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