Please find the attached slide deck from Wednesday, October 18, 2023, Member Call. I have included four recent updates below (three from HUD and one RHS):
- Expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA Initiative
- Multifamily Disaster Preparedness Plan Template
- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) seek public comment on a Draft Policy Statement on Housing and Historic Preservation
- RHS-Multifamily Housing Partnership Updates
- HUD Announces Expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA Initiative to Bridge the Digital Divide for HUD-Assisted Families
The announcement expands the Department’s work to promote digital inclusion for American families and builds on its ongoing work with the FCC to ensure all HUD-assisted families enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing the expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA (CHUSA) initiative through a notice in the Federal Register [link to FR notice] published today. This is the first time since 2020 that HUD is accepting new communities into the initiative, which works with Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs), and Multifamily housing providers to put in place the key elements of a digital inclusion program. CHUSA is recognized by digital inclusion practitioners as an effective approach to addressing the digital divide in HUD-assisted communities. The initiative was originally launched in 2015 to close the homework gap in twenty-eight pilot communities. Since that time, 100 communities have participated in the initiative.
This expansion will be highlighted at the CHUSA initiative’s 3-day virtual summit next week for ConnectHomeUSA communities, PHAs, TDHEs, public-private stakeholders, and anyone interested in promoting digital inclusion in their community. The summit will be held virtually between October 24 – 26, 2023, and interested parties can register.
This expansion of Connect Home builds on Secretary Marcia L. Fudge’s commitment to advancing digital equity and ensuring that families are connected to affordable internet. Earlier this summer, HUD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) for HUD-assisted families. In 2023, HUD has helped organize and facilitate over 45 ACP enrollment events with community partners across the United States. The ACP is the nation’s largest broadband affordability program that offers low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices. HUD-assisted residents are eligible to enroll based on their housing assistance. To learn more and enroll, visit www.GetInternet.gov or call 877-384-2575 to request a paper application.
“When communities, especially low-income communities, lack adequate access to broadband internet, they face barriers to economic and educational opportunities. ConnectHomeUSA allows us to bridge those barriers and ensure people in HUD-assisted housing can get and stay connected,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Today’s announcement is a major step towards advancing digital opportunities for people who receive HUD-assistance. We look forward to receiving public comment on the expansion and restructuring of ConnectHomeUSA, and we encourage PHAs to do all they can to enroll more families and individuals into the Affordable Connectivity Program.”
The Connect Home expansion is composed of two parts, which includes a 60-day public comment section which asks reviewers to comment on HUD’s proposed redesign of the CHUSA program into a three-tiered system, and instructions for submitting a letter of intent to be considered as CHUSA as an expansion community.
Under the current redesign, there are three tiers for communities of interest. Tier 1 communities include communities that may be somewhat familiar with the concepts of digital equity or digital inclusion but may be unsure how to bridge the digital divide in their own communities. HUD is looking to accept between 50-100 new communities in this tier. Tier 2 communities include existing CHUSA communities. There is no limit to the number of communities that HUD will accept in this tier. Tier 3 communities will not be accepted at this time. Instead, Tier 3 will be reserved for communities that achieve key benchmarks along their CHUSA journey.
- Multifamily Disaster Preparedness Plan Template Available
What is the Multifamily Disaster Preparedness Plan Template?
The Multifamily Disaster Preparedness Plan Template is a resource to help HUD-assisted multifamily owners and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) produce property-specific plan(s) to protect resident life and safety during a disaster. This template draws upon best practices for disaster and evacuation planning and provides resources for users to learn more as they consider their property’s needs.
The template is designed to guide users through the process of gathering appropriate information and resident input, drafting a plan, and educating residents and staff about the plan. Multifamily owners and PHAs will be prompted to consider both the specific climate hazards faced by the property (based on the FEMA National Risk Index, historical hazards in the area, and other applicable sources of information) and resident needs. The plan includes worksheets for an evacuation plan that incorporates safe egress route(s), plans for evacuating residents with special needs, and clear communication of the evacuation plan and safety resources for residents.
The tool is organized under four essential elements to disaster planning:
- Background, Staffing, and Coordination
- Resident Protection and Safety
- Building Protection
- Business Continuity
Who Should use the Disaster Plan Template?
HUD-assisted multifamily owners, including PHAs, in collaboration with staff and residents. While some HUD Multifamily-assistance programs require owners to have a disaster preparedness plan, it is a best practice for all multifamily properties to have a plan for disasters.
- The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) seek public comment on a Draft ACHP Policy Statement on Housing and Historic Preservation
This policy document provides advice and guidance for the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 review process that Housing programs follow during environmental reviews. When final, this document will provide policy guidance for the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) that review refinance, rehabilitation and construction projects. ACHP specifically seeks public comment from housing providers on experiences and challenges faced in historic preservation reviews. These could include any challenges faced with hazard reduction activities, accessibility updates, interior rehabilitation project delay, redevelopment and reconstruction and inability to increase housing density. Housing partners are encouraged to provide comment and specific examples of challenges experienced during the historic preservation review process.
Comment instructions are at this link and must be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. on November 11, 2023, by emailing . If members want to share feedback with NAHMA for a consolidated industry reponse, please submit comments to me by Wednesday, Nov. 8th.
- RHS Multifamily Housing Partnership Updates
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2023 | Time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
About: Join USDA Rural Development Multifamily Housing (MFH) leadership to receive updates on MFH programs. USDA Rural Development MFH Field Operations staff hold these quarterly to provide updates to our customers.
To join us for this meeting, click here: Multifamily Housing Partnership Updates – Live Meeting
Agenda Topics for the meeting include:
- Leadership Updates
- Multifamily Physical Inspection Pilot Program (MPIPP)
- State of Portfolio
- Proposed Budgets
- Handbook Updates
- Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA)
Larry Keys, Vice President of Government Affairs
National Affordable Housing Management Association
400 N. Columbus St., Suite 203, Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone 703-683-8630, ext.111 Email , Website www.nahma.org
NAHMA is the leading voice for affordable housing management, advocating on behalf of multifamily property managers and owners whose mission is to provide quality affordable housing.