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President’s Forum: Recapping Our Recent Legislative Forum

HUD Appropriations, NSPIRE, HOTMA, and Rent Collections Top the Agenda

PHADA President Mark Gillett.

PHADA conducted its Annual Legislative Forum in mid-September. Once again, the Washington, DC, meeting was quite timely, providing us the opportunity to meet with HUD officials, members of Congress and their staff as they (hopefully) soon finalize the 2024 federal budget. PHADA’s various committees also worked on some important legislative and regulatory objectives and addressed other organizational priorities.

The most important issue, of course, is the 2024 HUD budget.

When we were in Washington, our members fanned out across Capitol Hill to advocate that lawmakers adopt a Continuing Resolution to buy time so they can complete the appropriations process.

We will continue to make this point and keep pressing Congress to enact final appropriations that are more consistent with the Senate’s higher amounts for our programs. The figures are outlined in PHADA’s appropriations Position Paper, which is available here.

The PHADA Board of Trustees established some policy-related action items coming out of our committee meetings. Many HAs continue to have significant difficulties with rent collections even after the pandemic. This has created several problems including revenue losses, too many (last resort) evictions, increases in Tenant Accounts Receivable (TARs) and more demand for operating shortfall money.

PHADA believes the situation is unsustainable and poses a serious threat to the fiscal solvency of many housing agencies. We think the Biden Administration and Congress need to do more to address the issue. In addition, HUD should modify its assessment programs so as not to penalize HAs for things that are outside of their control. You can read more about these and our other concerns and recommendations in the letter we sent to Secretary Fudge here.

Our Small PHA and Housing Committees also raised major questions about the Build America Buy America (BABA) regulation that HUD will initiate in 2024. PHADA believes the regulation, while well-intentioned, will result in cost increases and construction and maintenance delays, among other problems. At a minimum, we think HUD should provide HAs with more exemptions and waivers than the ones already on the books. Following our committee discussions, we directed staff to write HUD and raise some outstanding questions and concerns related to BABA. You can read more starting on page 5.

Richard Monocchio, HUD-PIH Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.

We appreciated that Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for PIH, Richard Monocchio, and others from HUD-PIH addressed our group. It gave us a chance to dialogue with them about the rocky implementation of HOTMA, the potential loss of landlords resulting from NSIPRE-V in addition to the 30-day notice issues mentioned in our correspondence to the Secretary.

Some other panels covered the latest revisions to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and progress HUD is making to address thousands of comments filed on its comprehensive Fair Housing regulation.

I was also pleased to introduce Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman, who graciously took time to address PHADA during our Monday evening Capitol Hill reception.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) both provided inspirational remarks for attendees. The two lawmakers are staunch supporters of our programs and vowed to continue efforts to secure more funding for the vast backlog of capital needs.

In sum, the Legislative Forum was quite productive. I want to thank the hundreds of members who took the time to come to Washington. I am looking forward to seeing even more of you, commissioners, and first-time attendees at our Commissioners’ Conference in San Diego this coming January. We will have several timely informative sessions featuring the latest on NSPIRE, BABA, rent collections, training for new EDs and other major issues. Please see page 12 for the schedule and registration information.

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