PHADA submitted comments to the Federal Register related to its concerns with the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) as it applies to HUD’s Federal Financial Assistance. As a result of historically high inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many HAs have struggled to maintain needed staffing levels, procure products, complete needed capital improvements and repairs in a timely manner, and manage increasing costs as demands for HA services continue to rise. While the intent to support American manufacturers and products is supported broadly, PHADA is concerned that the requirements of BABA will exacerbate these issues and result in HA staff being diverted away from the core mission of providing affordable rental housing and other related services to residents. In addition, BABA will increase costs for renovations and result in delays while the necessary vetting is completed to ensure compliance, all of which will also negatively affect residents.
PHADA’s concerns include:
- A lack of a mature manufacturing and sourcing marketplace could further exacerbate supply chain issues leading to project delays and cost inflation.
- A lack of a compliance structure for construction materials and manufactured products and limited details on the reporting and regulatory requirements associated with BABA.
- The undermining of the Administration’s goals as related to increasing the housing supply and expanding broadband internet service to the underserved and unserved.
- An undefined waiver process lacking details about broad exceptions for HAs when faced with underdeveloped marketplaces which lack sourcing information for building materials.
- A de minimus threshold set at a level that causes undue burden on HAs when performing regular maintenance and program operations.
- A significant inflationary effect on the already large capital backlog that leaves HAs with deteriorating units and families in poor living conditions.
- Project delays and increased costs could lead to longer turnover times and vacant units, leading to lower occupancy rates, and undercutting the Department’s strategic goal to serve more families in the public housing program.
- The short implementation timeline and the dearth of Department research into the potential impacts of BABA’s regulations which could be calamitous for HAs and the families they serve.
To read PHADA’s full comment click here.