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NYC HPD: Streamlined Process Changes for Homeless Referrals

NYC HPD, Tue, Jun 2nd, 2020 8:14:28 am
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Income Eligibility Determinations
Non-LIHTC, Non-Federally Assisted Units
Homeless clients referred to non-LIHTC and non-Federally assisted affordable units with CityFHEPS rental assistance or Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers will not be subject to further income documentation requirements. The voucher eligibility determination will serve as qualifying evidence of eligibility for the affordable unit. No further income documentation will be collected by HPD, HDC, or the marketing agent. This policy applies to homeless referrals to all non-LIHTC and non-Federally assisted affordable units overseen by HPD or HDC, including capitally financed units, units subject to a standalone tax exemption, and standalone Inclusionary Housing units, among others.

LIHTC and Federally Assisted Units
HPD and HDC recently released relaxed documentation standards for LIHTC and Federally assisted affordable units: These new standards apply to LIHTC and Federally assisted homeless units, as well as those in lottery or re-rental.

Subsidy Qualification and Budgeting
HRA recently lightened the documentation and eligibility requirements for clients moving into affordable housing units to qualify for CityFHEPS rental assistance. This change not only expedites placements, but also helps to ensure that clients do not fall out of eligibility during the referral process.

Additionally, DHS and HRA will now collect the required documentation to budget the tenant's share of rent and public assistance earlier in the referral process. To date, this budgeting has occurred after a client is approved for a unit; going forward, it will be conducted to align with the marketing agent's approval of the client, shortening the total timeframe from referral to lease up.

For the initial lease up of new construction buildings or preservation buildings with multiple vacancies, Homeless Placement Services will coordinate a single inspection process to satisfy the requirements of all of the tenant-based subsidy types of the pool of clients referred. For instance, projects which have referrals of clients with a mix of Section 8 and CityFHEPS subsidies will have one coordinated HQS inspection, the results of which will satisfy the requirements of the issuing agencies. This relieves building owners of the burden of providing access on a unit-by-unit basis as tenants are approved and undergoing multiple inspection types for the homeless lease ups in a building. For large projects, scheduling may occur over two or more days to complete all of the units, but every effort will be made to schedule on consecutive business days and minimize the number of visits.

Virtual Unit Viewings
All unit viewings, with the allowable exception of units set aside for applicants with disabilities, will be conducted virtually. Owners are required to provide 2 out of 3 of the following: photos, video, and floor plan of the unit, showing full perspectives of each room. Neither owners nor clients may require in person viewings, with the exception that clients with disabilities may require in person viewings to ensure that the unit properly accommodates their needs. Owners should send the photos, videos, or plans to HPD as soon as vacancies are reported, so that clients may view the units as the referral process proceeds.

Expedited Lease Signing and Move In
Lease signings and move ins will be scheduled upon issuance of the CityFHEPS Approval Notice to Landlord. The Approval Notice certifies that the client is eligible to receive rental assistance payments; confirms the approved monthly rent for the unit, including the rental assistance amount and the tenant portion; and triggers processing of the rent checks and security deposit for the unit. These checks will be delivered to the owner within 5 – 7 business days.

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