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January 12, 2017: NHLP Executive Director Shamus Roller along with NHLP Board Chair and Stanford Law Professor Michelle Anderson's op ed on Ben Carson's nomination to be HUD's new secretary.
Today, the Senate holds hearings to confirm Ben Carson as the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new secretary. Read the full article published in the Los Angeles Times.
January 9, 2017: NHLP and Partners Submit Comments on HUD's Proposed Enhanced Voucher Rule
Last month, NHLP submitted comments on HUD's proposed enhanced voucher rule in collaboration with of the Housing Justice Network, National Alliance of HUD Tenants, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, Community Legal Services (Philadelphia), Legal Aid Society (New York City), Housing Justice Center (St. Paul), and Legal Aid Service of Broward County, FL. The rights of enhanced voucher tenants are critical to protecting assisted tenants upon the occurrence of certain eligibility events, and were created by Congress in the 1990s in response to a growing number of HUD-subsidized and project-based Section 8 owners who had become eligible to prepay their subsidized mortgages or to terminate or not renew their contracts with HUD. Our comments seek to significantly strengthen and clarify HUD’s proposed rule, in light of existing federal statutes, regulations, HUD guidance regarding enhanced vouchers, court rulings, and advocates' varied experiences. Specifically, our comments discuss enhanced voucher tenants' right to remain, the importance of requiring an enhanced voucher lease addendum, the illegality of tenant rescreening when issuing enhanced vouchers, family eligibility for retroactive enhanced voucher assistance, calculating reasonable rents and minimum rents for enhanced vouchers, the importance of timely issuance of enhanced vouchers, calculating unit size, tenant notice of contract termination or expiration, the right to return after temporary rehabilitation, and the type of tenant-based vouchers in a Section 8(bb) transfer.
January 9, 2017: NHLP and HJN Submit Comments on New RAD Component 1 Civil Rights, Fair Housing, and Relocation Guidance
On behalf of the Housing Justice Network and in collaboration with many tenant advocacy partners nationwide, NHLP has submitted comments on the recently released, and greatly expanded, HUD guidance on the civil rights, fair housing, and relocation requirements for properties converting under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). While the guidance includes many positive improvements and strong protections for tenants, our comments indicate several areas where HUD must clarify and improve upon in order to ensure that the RAD fair housing, civil rights, and relocation requirements include the strongest long-term affordability protections, are used as key tools for tenant education and participation, and are publicly accessible for enforcement and transparency purposes.
January 3, 2017: HUD Confirms Process for Access to Public and Assisted Housing for VAWA Self-Petitioners
As a key part of VAWA, Congress in 1996 and 2003 gave battered immigrant spouses and children abused by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents who had filed applications for immigration relief under VAWA access to public and assisted housing. HUD issued a memo on December 15, 2016 confirming that VAWA self-petitioners have access to public and assisted housing under Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act. Please stay tuned for a webinar by NHLP and the National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP) in which we cover this new authority and other issues impacting the rights of immigrants to access federally assisted housing programs.
December 22, 2016: Richmond Adopts Fair Chance Housing Ordinance
On Tuesday, December 20, the Richmond City Council adopted the Fair Chance Access to Affordable Housing Ordinance. NHLP worked with the Safe Return Project, Reentry Success Center, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Dellums Institute for Social Change, among other partners, to draft a law that expands housing opportunities for people who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Specifically, the Fair Chance Ordinance restricts the type of criminal activity that affordable housing providers can consider in the tenant screening process. In passing the ordinance, the City recognized the discriminatory effect of blanket bans on people of color. The ordinance will give individuals applicants with a criminal record a fair chance to live in permanent, safe housing. Richmond now joins a handful of cities across the country that have taken steps to support the successful reintegration of people exiting jails and prisons into the community. You can find the ordinance here.
December 19, 2016: NHLP Publishes the State Law Compendium: Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors (2016)
This Compendium compiles state and local laws that affect domestic violence survivors’ housing rights. It is designed to serve as a starting point for advocates seeking to conduct research on the housing protections that their state and local laws offer for domestic violence survivors. Examples of such protections include early lease termination provisions for domestic violence survivors, lock change laws, and affirmative defenses for evictions related to acts of domestic violence committed against a tenant.
December 2, 2016: NHLP’s Work with Policymakers Results in Strengthened Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors in the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016
In a big step toward protecting survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against housing loss, Congress passed an amendment to VAWA 2013 as part of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 on December 1, 2016. NHLP provided key assistance to federal policymakers in drafting the amendment, which clarifies that lease bifurcations and post-lease bifurcation protections apply to both tenants and residents. Under VAWA 2013, a covered housing provider can decide to bifurcate a lease by removing a perpetrator from the lease and permitting the survivor to stay in the unit. If the survivor is not included on the housing assistance, then the survivor has the right to establish eligibility for the assistance, apply for another covered housing program, or find alternative housing. The amendment reflects Congress's intent to provide lease bifurcation safeguards for survivors who are living in federally assisted units covered by VAWA, but whose names do not appear on housing assistance contracts or leases because of the power and control of their abusers or due to issues related to immigration status. The bill is expected to be sent to the President for his signature.
November 15, 2016: CPUC Adopts Major Improvements to Low Income Energy Efficiency Program
On November 10, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a proposal to significantly increase energy efficiency opportunities for four million low-income Californians, reaching those in multifamily housing for the first time. A broad coalition of 19 organizations supported the proposal to enhance California’s Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) program, a move that could serve as a national model for easing the energy burden of low-income households, cutting energy waste, and reducing harmful pollution.