Waiver authority gives localities and tribes control in dealing with COVID-19 in communities
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today is granting public housing authorities (PHA), Indian tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) waiver authorities and ultimate flexibilities so agency staff can focus on assisting their tenants and properties during the COVID-19 pandemic. HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing provides housing assistance to approximately 3.5 million families across the country.
“During difficult times, it is reasonable to expect standard operations and various aspects of ordinary life to be hindered, altered or upended all together, but as history often has taught us, Americans – working as one – will prevail,” said Secretary Ben Carson. “Flexible solutions such as these waivers, which were granted to HUD through the coronavirus relief bill President Trump signed into law, will help housing authorities and tribes meet the unique needs of their residents and ensure all HUD-supported properties are fully operational as we continue working together to defeat this invisible enemy.”
“I am incredibly proud of this administration’s steadfast efforts to defeat COVID-19. The waivers being provided today will allow PHAs, Indian tribes and TDHEs to provide critical functions for residents and prioritize the health and safety of the citizens of New York and New Jersey, the joint-epicenter of this deadly virus,” said Lynne Patton, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. “HUD will continue to support our most vulnerable Americans and, together, we will meet the needs of our most vulnerable and defeat this invisible enemy.”
The waivers implemented through the Office of Public and Indian Housing’s notice provide administrative relief and allow for alternative approaches to various aspects of PHA, tribal and TDHE operations in a safe and secure manner. As various parts of the country are experiencing this pandemic at different levels of severity, this notice grants PHAs, tribes and TDHEs full discretion to use these waivers in way that best supports their communities.
At the onset of this pandemic, HUD took immediate action to help HUD-assisted families in public and tribal housing. In addition to the waiver announced today, the department has:
•Strongly encouraged PHAs, Indian tribes and TDHEs to use available funding to keep families in their homes, provide rent flexibilities, and conduct operations remotely if possible.
•Postponed HUD’s routine housing inspections at this time so residents and inspectors can minimize their exposure to germs and follow the presidential guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.
•Made available an additional $200 million in grant funding for Native American families, which tribes can use to provide critical health services to assisted residents, reduce overcrowding to minimize infections and community spread, stand up facilities for quarantining or testing if needed, and much more.