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President’s Forum: HUD’s Voter Registration Guidance

Useful Reminders for HAs Interested in Nonpartisan Activities

PHADA President David A. Northern, Sr.

Many HAs have long engaged in nonpartisan voter registration efforts. With the 2022 general election season approaching, HUD-PIH recently issued helpful material reminding HAs of activities that are permitted and those that should be avoided. The document can be found at Voter Registration Activities.

HUD states that its memo was prompted by recent inquiries about permissible activities. The Department said that it issued the guidance because “…it is the duty of the Federal, State, and local governments to promote the exercise of the right [to vote].” HUD-PIH added that many rules are set by the states so agencies should check with their counsel to ensure their activities are compliant with state and local law.

Some suggestions include providing documentation ofresidence for public and assisted housing residents who want to register. This includes leases, address verification etc. HAs can also provide registration forms to residents (as many of us do now). The memo notes that, in some states, HAs may also run voter registration drives if local laws permit such activity. HAs can also apply to their states to serve as official registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act.

In addition to these activities, agencies may make their community spaces available for meetings and candidate forums provided all parties are given equal access to such venues. HAs may use public housing funds and Section 8 administrative fees for the costs associated with these kinds of activities.

Of course, HAs are not permitted to use funds or their facilities for any partisan activities. HUD stresses that agencies should not “suggest that benefits are in any way tied to a participant’s voting activity…or give the appearance that the processes of voter registration or voting are not voluntary processes.”

Lastly, the Department provides internet links to other helpful resources including a national nonpartisan registration voter registration site and invites questions to a Department email address: PHAVoterRegistration@hud.gov. PHADA encourages HAs that are interested in voter registration to examine this material.


Please Provide PHADA Your Agency Policies

I have often noted in this column the large volume of turnover at our agencies in recent years. Many executive directors and key staff have retired or will soon reach retirement. We have been discussing how to address this dynamic within PHADA’s leadership, along with the best ways to assist new EDs who may sometimes lack experience with our programs. We are working on a few initiatives to address these needs.

Having access to a variety of HA policies is something that could be helpful to new directors and all agencies. This access is particularly important now as many HAs have converted their properties under RAD and there have been major changes in HUD policies and regulations. In addition, many agencies have established new remote work or telework policies that would be useful models to others.

PHADA would very much appreciate receiving all policies that members are willing to provide. The association would post the material to our website and share the information with members at no expense to them, of course. We would remind HAs that states and communities have different laws and regulations so they should take that into account when they consider using other policies as their models.

Policies should be up-to-date and technically correct, of course. We are interested in all types including, but not limited to, admission and occupancy, capitalization, criminal records management, disposition, drug-free workplace, ethics, investment, procurement, personnel, RAD conversion, risk retention, telework, trespass and ban, waitlist management, etc.

Please do not feel limited by this list of examples. We are interested in all types of polices and please send PDF versions if possible. They may be sent directly to our Communications Director, Blake Stenning, at: bstenning@phada.org. Thank you for your consideration and helping PHADA to assist your industry colleagues.

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