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President’s Forum: Annual Convention Will Focus on Timely Issues

New Tenant Screening and HOTMA Atop the Agenda

PHADA President Mark Gillett.

I suspect many readers will agree that 2024 is passing by quickly. We are well into the spring with May now just days away. PHADA’s 2024 Annual Convention & Exhibition in New Orleans, June 2–5, is rapidly approaching so I thought it an opportune time to share some of the agenda with those of you who are planning to attend or those still contemplating it. 

As always, the session content will be focused on the most important and timely issues. HUD just issued, for example, its long-anticipated proposed rule on criminal background checks and tenant screening. The rule contains some notable changes that may significantly affect our operations. 

PHADA Policy staff discussing current issues during the 2023 Annual Convention.

PHADA’s policy team is scrutinizing the proposed rule and will be convening meetings with the association’s leaders in the coming weeks to prepare our comments for HUD’s consideration. In New Orleans, we will host a session to outline the new provisions and the organization’s positions. In the meantime, you can read more about the rule in the separate article here

HUD may also issue a final Fair Housing rule before we meet in June. Like the tenant screening regulation, the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation will have major implications for the way we serve and interact with residents. 

PHADA strongly supports the statutory objectives of the Fair Housing Act. That said, we have many concerns about HUD’s proposed regulation, which we think is unrealistic, burdensome and overly prescriptive. The comments we submitted outlining our specific concerns can be accessed here. HUD has said the AFFH rule may be published this year. We therefore anticipate it will generate some discussion when we
are in New Orleans. 

As we all know, the Department is moving forward (ready or not) on some of its other major priorities including new NSPIRE inspections, HOTMA income-related changes and the Information Technology changeover to the new Housing Information Portal (HIP). We have workshops planned on those key issues too. Other highlights include sessions on the Build America Buy America (BABA) rule, which kicks in fully this coming summer in addition
to new Small Area Fair Market Rent requirements that impact hundreds of HAs. 

I strongly encourage all members to try and attend at least some of the organizational committee meetings on Sunday, June 2. Most of them are open to all registrants. During these meetings, we really delve into the regulatory and legislative issues of the day to develop PHADA’s positions. We begin Sunday with a full-scale briefing that sets the table for much of our deliberations over the entire meeting. 

Of course, another highlight of the annual meeting is the scholarship lunch honoring the awardees. You can read more about this year’s scholarship winners and access the full convention agenda in this edition. I hope to see many of you in New Orleans. 


Congratulations, Chairman Cole

In February 2023, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) met with senior staff of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority. (L–R): Matt Mills, Assistant Executive Director/Operations; Rocky Chavez, Board Chair; Rep. Cole ; Mark Gillett, Executive Director; Laura Gregory, Director of Resident Services; and Kassy Malone, Director of Real Estate/Development and Planning.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) was recently named Chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. He replaces Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who decided to step down from the position which oversees all federal discretionary spending. 

Chairman Cole is from my home state and region of Oklahoma, and I have had the opportunity to work closely with he and his staff. Up until recently, Cole chaired the House subcommittee on Transportation and HUD. The new chair of the HUD panel will be longtime subcommittee member, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR). 

Always accessible and willing to consider our views, Rep. Cole is well prepared and experienced to assume this new and influential position. We congratulate the Chairman and look forward to working with he and Rep. Womack as the FY 25 appropriations process advances.

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