Exemptions Provide Rental Assistance Flexibility Through Continuums of Care
NJ Continuums of Care (CoC) have new flexibility as a result of regulation changes made by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
One amendment allows individuals and families to choose to live outside of a CoC’s geographic area while keeping their tenant-based rental assistance funded through the CoC program under certain conditions.
The other amendment exempts CoC recipients and subrecipients from complying with all non-statutory regulations when a program participant moves outside of the CoC’s geographic area in order to flee from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
A recipient is an entity that applies for CoC program funds and signs a grant agreement with HUD. A subrecipient is a private nonprofit organization, state or local government, or instrumentality of a state or local government that receives a sub-grant from the recipient to operate a project.
The amended interim rule allows a program participant to choose housing outside of the CoC’s geographic area as long as the following conditions are met:
- The decision is made in consultation between the program participant and the recipient or sub-recipient.
- The recipient or sub-recipient may decline the request if the recipient or sub-recipient is unable to comply with all CoC program requirements in the area outside of its geographic area, such as ensuring housing quality standards, calculating the program participant’s income, conducting an annual assessment of the program participant’s service needs, making supportive services available, and providing monthly case management in situations involving rapid rehousing (RRH) projects.
- The receiving CoC is not involved in the decision to allow a program participant to move. The receiving CoC may not prohibit a program participant from moving into its geographic area.
- The program participant remains in the Homeless Management Information System of the CoC where the program participant is enrolled for assistance.
HUD issued an interim Continuums of Care rule to take effect on July 31, 2012 and accepted comments until October 1, 2012. Commenters wrote about the difficulty providers have in locating affordable housing within their CoC’s geographic area because of the high cost of housing.
Commenters also noted that limiting use of Continuums of Care tenant-based assistance to the CoC’s geographic area restricted resident choice and limited opportunities for program participants to identify affordable housing, contrary to the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.
Regarding a program participant who has tenant-based rental assistance and is fleeing imminent threat of harm from domestic violence, the existing interim rule allowed moves outside of the CoC geographic area, subject to the program participant having complied with all program requirements.
The amended interim rule exempts the recipient or sub-recipient from regulatory requirements, such as conducting an annual assessment of the service needs of the program participant. However, the recipient or sub-recipient must still comply with statutory requirements, such as ensuring housing quality standards and ensuring the education needs of children are met.
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