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05/27/2020

Housing Choice Voucher Program - Notification of HUD COVID-19 Waivers to Residents and Participants

On April 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a series of temporary waivers and alternative methods due to COVID-19 that Tallahassee Housing Authority (THA) has adopted. These temporary waivers will allow THA  to limit contact with residents and participants and to continue housing families and keeping families in their home. As a result, below is the list of temporary waivers THA has adopted:

1. Self-Certifications During Annual and Interim Reexaminations:

  • Accept self-certifications to verify family composition, income, assets, and expenses when a family is unable to obtain third party verification of such due to Covid-19. The resident may provide this verification by email, fax or regular mail.
  • This waiver is available until 7/31/20.

How does this waiver affect you?

Current regulations prescribe a verification hierarchy that THA must follow when requesting information to verify information provided by the family. If you are unable to provide the required information, this waiver allows us to move forward with your annual or interim reexamination based on the information you provide. However, the information you provide can later be re-verified and you may be held responsible for any discrepancies. Therefore, please remember to provide complete and accurate information at all times.

2. Voucher Oral Briefing

  • Allows alternative methods to conduct required voucher briefing (e.g., telephone, virtual meetings, etc.).

How does this waiver affect you?

Current regulations require that we inform you about the program through an oral briefing and through written information. This waiver allows us to comply with that requirement by providing you information over the phone, online, or through other alternative methods in order to not delay the issuance of your voucher. 

3. Term of Voucher -Extensions of Term

  • Allows THA to provide voucher extensions regardless of current policy.

How does this waiver affect you?

Current regulations require that we provide voucher extensions of search time based on existing agency policies. Currently, our policies limit extensions to 30 days or additional time as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities. This waiver allows us to grant additional time for families affected by COVID-19. 

4. Absence from Unit

  • Allows for THA discretion on absences from units longer than 180 days.

How does this waiver affect you?

Some residents may have needed emotional or medical support that required them to be absent from the unit longer than 180 days. This waiver allows us evaluate these absence on a case-by-case basis and determine if the absence is allowable. However, in all cases, families are required to report their absence as soon as practicable.

5. Automatic Termination of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract

  • Allows THA to extend the period of time after the last HAP payment is made before the HAP contract terminates automatically.

How does this waiver affect you?

Current regulations state that the HAP contract automatically terminates after 180 days of non-payment by the PHA. This usually happens when the unit is under abatement for extended period of time or when the family's share of the rent exceeds the contract (among other reasons). This waiver allows us to review these contracts and provide additional time in order to prevent termination of the HAP contract.

6. Interim Inspections

  • Allows THA to use alternative methods to conduct interim inspection and verify repairs.

How does this waiver affect you?

Implementing this waiver allows us to verify that repairs were made using alternative methods. Although THA perform any inspections using protective measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this waiver allows us to use video, receipts, and other methods to verify deficiencies are corrected. The method allowed will be determined by THA, in its sole discretion, on whether or not the deficiency can be verified through an alternate method.

7. Public Notice for Opening and Closing of Waiting List

  • Allows THA to open and close the waiting list by providing public notice in a voicemail message on its main telephone number and through its website.

How does this waiver affect you?

Current regulations require that we inform you of the opening and closing of the waiting list by publishing in a local newspaper of general circulation. This waiver allows us to inform the public through the use of our website and telephone number. Ample notice will still be given if the waiting list is opened.

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