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CARES Act waiver expiration

Posted on February 3, 2022


City of Santa Ana Logo, surrounded by the words "Downtown Orange County"

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Ana Housing Authority (SAHA) adopted various waivers to mitigate the health risks posed by COVID-19 to Housing Authority staff, families, landlords, and our community at large. Effective December 31, 2021, the Housing Authority will conclude the use of waivers previously adopted.

One notable exception is the HQS Inspection Requirement – Biennial Inspections. Inspection waivers are highlighted for you below as [CONTINUED]. This continued waiver is specifically to address our backlog of biennial inspections that were delayed due to COVID-19. Delayed biennial inspections due in calendar year (CY) 2020 must be completed no later than June 30, 2022. Delayed biennial inspections due in CY 2021 must be completed no later than December 31, 2022.

Conclusion of waivers

1. Family Income and Composition – Delayed Annual Reexaminations

All annual reexaminations due in CY 2021 must be completed by December 31, 2021.

2. Family Income and Composition: Annual Examination; Income Verification Requirements

SAHA waived the requirements to use the income verification hierarchy required by HUD for annual reexaminations. SAHA accepted self- certification as the highest form of income verification when 3rd party income verification for annual reexaminations is not available. However, SAHA continued to use the Enterprise Income Verification system.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

3. Family Income and Composition – Interim Reexaminations

SAHA waived the requirements to use the income verification hierarchy required by HUD for interim reexaminations. SAHA accepted self-certification as the highest form of income verification when third party income verification for interim reexaminations was not available.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

4.    Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Contract of Participation – Contract Extension:

SAHA considered the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 to qualify as “good cause” to extend a family’s contract of participation in the FSS program.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

5. Eligibility Determination – Income Verification

SAHA waived the requirements to use the income verification hierarchy required by HUD for applicants who are being determined eligible for assistance. As a last resort, SAHA accepted self-certification as the highest form of income verification when 3rd party income verification for an applicant is not available.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

6.    Initial Inspection Requirements

For occupied/lease-in-place units, SAHA began conducting in-person physical inspections on July 1, 2021, but may conduct a Remote VideoInspection until December 31, 2021, only if a tenant states in writing that s/he is unwilling to allow SAHA to conduct an in-person physical inspection.

For vacant units – SAHA will conduct a physical inspection.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

7.    HQS Interim Inspections

If there is a life-threatening or non life-threatening HQS deficiency reported, SAHA conducted in-person physical inspections beginning on July 1, 2021, but may conduct a Remote Video Inspection until December 31, 2021, only ifa tenant states in writing that s/he is unwilling to allow SAHA to conduct an in- person physical inspection.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

8.    Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Turnover Unit Inspections

For occupied/lease-in-place units, SAHA conducted in-person physical inspections beginning on July 1, 2021, but may conduct a Remote Video Inspection until December 31, 2021, only if a tenant states in writing that s/he is unwilling to allow SAHA to conduct an in-person physical inspection.

For vacant units – SAHA will conduct a physical inspection.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

9. HQS Quality Control Inspections

SAHA conducted in-person Quality Control Inspections beginning on July 1, 2021, but may conduct a Remote Video Inspection until December 31,2021, only if a tenant states in writing that s/he is unwilling to allow SAHA to conduct an in-person physical inspection.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

10.     Administrative Plan

Policies may be adopted without Board approval until September 30, 2021. Any provisions adopted informally must be adopted formally by December 31,2021.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

11.     Information When Family Is Selected – SAHA Oral Briefing

SAHA will begin conducting in-person oral briefings but will also continue to conduct the oral briefing using conference call or Zoom video conference meeting. SAHA will ensure that the method of communication for the briefing effectively communicates with each family member, including those with vision, hearing, and other communication-related disabilities and those with persons with limited English proficiency.

12.     Term of Voucher – Extensions of Term

SAHA is waiving the requirement that voucher term extensions must be in accordance with SAHA’s administrative plan. If SAHA receives a written request for a voucher extension prior to the expiration of the voucher, any active voucher searching may be extended until December 31, 2021.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

13.     Foster Youth to Independence Eligibility to Enter HAP Contract

SAHA waived the requirement that a Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) youth must be not more than 24 years of age (not yet reached their 25th birthday) and replaced it with the requirement that FYI youth be not more than 25 years of age (not yet reached their 26th birthday).

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

14. Family Unification Program (FUP): Timeframe for Referral

Under the Foster Youth to Independence Program, assistance may be provided on behalf of “otherwise eligible youths who have attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age and who have left foster care or will leave foster care within 90 days.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be difficult for youth to find units that are available for lease within the 90-day timeframe, increasing the risk that such youth may experience homelessness. To prevent such an outcome, HUD waived the statutory limitation and establishing an alternative requirement. Specifically, SAHA accepted referrals from Orange County Social Services Agency for youth who will leavefoster care within 120 days.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

15. Mainstream Voucher Program Initial Lease Term

SAHA may enter initial lease terms of less than one year for the Mainstream Voucher Program.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

16. Mainstream Age Eligibility to Enter HAP Contract Statutory Authority

SAHA is expanding the definition of an eligible non-elderly family member to include those who were issued a voucher prior to turning 62 and were not yet 63 on the effective date of the HAP Contract.

This waiver will conclude on December 31, 2021.

Questions

Call the Housing Authority at (714) 667-2200.

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