The two changes encourage states to inform stakeholders about the NHTF and to obtain their ideas for shaping the state’s NHTF ahead of the formal, required public participation process. Earlier versions implied that states could wait to do NHTF planning until 2016.
The updated FAQ on page 5 adds a second paragraph that reads:
“HUD encourages States and SDEs to engage with their stakeholders (e.g. community organizations, general public, housing partners, etc.) through informal meetings or planning sessions that make information available, inform design of their HTF program, and otherwise contribute to a meaningful citizen participation process.”
HUD’s NHTF webpage adds under the heading, “Program Schedule,” the following:
“During 2015, States will begin developing their HTF Allocation Plans and solicit input from their constituents and submit these plans to HUD along with their 2016 Annual Acton Plans. HUD anticipates that grantees will receive their HTF allocations by summer 2016. HUD is developing guidance and training to assist grantees and program partners in designing and implementing their programs.”
These improvements are a positive response to concerns the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) raised with HUD after the initial set of FAQs were posted on June 19, 2015. The language of two of the initial FAQs discouraged states from educating the public about the NHTF and from seeking preliminary input regarding priorities to consider when a state establishes the criteria it will use to consider when awarding NHTF dollars to specific projects. NLIHC is urging advocates to get started on NHTF planning now to help ensure successful implementation in 2016.