Sneak Preview: HUD Counsel Clarifies HOPWA Program Regulations

January 29, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) Because Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) field office staff have sought guidance on Section 8 requirements under the Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA) program, HUD’s associate general counsel recently clarified that grant recipients participating in the HOPWA program are subject only to those Section 8 rental assistance program requirements in the HOPWA program regulations. However, grant recipients administering HOPWA rental assistance may voluntarily follow other Section 8 program requirements as long as these requirements do not directly conflict with HOPWA statutory or regulatory requirements.

HOPWA was authorized in 1990 under the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act (Pub. L. 101-625). The law enables HUD to make grants to state and local governments and nonprofit organizations for eligible activities aimed at preventing homelessness among persons with AIDS and their families, including providing project-based and tenant-based rental assistance. When providing this rental assistance, the act requires that it “be provided to the extent practicable in the manner provided for under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937.”

HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development recently requested legal advice concerning the statutory requirements for HOPWA-funded rental assistance. In a responding memo, associate general counsel Althea Forrester explained that HOPWA grant recipients must provide HOPWA rental assistance in accordance with the Section 8 program requirements “that have been expressly incorporated into the HOPWA program regulations.”

“Congress did not mandate that HUD subject HOPWA rental assistance to all statutory and regulatory requirements that apply to Section 8 rental assistance,” Forrester said. “Congress clearly did not direct that HOPWA rental assistance must mimic Section 8 in every respect. Rather, Congress provided that rental assistance was an eligible activity under the HOPWA program. We construe this provision as requiring rental assistance funded with HOPWA grant amounts to be administered and delivered to eligible persons in the same manner as Section 8 rental assistance is administered, and delivered to the extent practicable.”

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

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