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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): HOPWA

Find answers to commonly asked questions about:

  • HUD homeless assistance programs and policies, including questions regarding the most recent (2009) CoC NOFA application. (Note: If your grant award is from a previous year, please refer to NOFA FAQs from Previous Grant Years to find the NOFA FAQs that correspond to that grant award.);
  • HOPWA Short-term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance (STRMU) Payments; and
  • Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP);

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If you have a question on a topic other than HPRP that is not addressed in this section, please visit the Contact Us page to obtain contact information for your local HUD Field Office.

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HOPWA

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Topic: Short-term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance (STRMU) Payments
Date Program/System Question Answer
 5/19/09 HOPWA  Can my HOPWA project use emergency housing vouchers to place homeless families in temporary housing, such as short-term use of hotel/motel units? 

Yes. HOPWA funds may be used for reasonable and appropriate motel and hotel vouchers for up to 30 days if no appropriate shelter beds are available and subsequent rental housing has been identified but is not immediately available for move-in by the program participants. ...

 5/19/09 HOPWA  Do the requirements related to short-term housing apply to hotel/motel vouchers? 

Yes. Short-term housing efforts must follow HOPWA guidance on such assistance, as described in CPD Notice 06-07 that addressed how to connect HOPWA short-term rent, mortgage, and utility activities to stable housing results with on-going support.

Note: Short-ter ...

 5/19/09 HOPWA  How should we report use of emergency hotel/motel housing vouchers? 

In the standard HOPWA reports (APR; CAPER/IDIS), please classify these costs as facility-based housing assistance costs for leasing a transitional/short-term housing facility/unit.

Note: Report as “leased units” in the APR or CAPER along with related expenditures f ...

 5/19/09 HOPWA  Does reporting the use of emergency hotel/motel vouchers as leasing trigger any environmental review requirements? 

No, not beyond the documentation made prior to undertaking the activity as a categorical exclusion. The use of emergency housing vouchers to place homeless families in temporary housing, such as short-term use of hotel/motel units, is considered a short-term payment for ...

 5/19/09 HOPWA  Could HOPWA funds be used to lease a larger facility for short-term emergency housing? 

Yes. HOPWA funds can directly support the development, leasing, and operating costs for transitional and short-term housing facilities, with standards found at 24 CFR 574.330.

Note. Additional limits apply to facilities used to provide temporary shelter including ...

 5/19/09 HOPWA  Does the HOPWA program fund other responses besides hotel/motel vouchers? 

Yes. Projects can make use of the other forms of housing support, such as HOPWA rental assistance, and residence in permanent supportive housing facilities as well as interventions to prevent loss of current housing by providing HOPWA short-term rent, mortgage and utilit ...

 8/3/06 HOPWA  Can STRMU payments pay for telephone service? 

CORRECTED RESPONSE in CPD Notice 06-07, issued 8/3/06

NO, not as a housing cost reported as STRMU. However, in some situations, a grantee may determine that their HOPWA programs will allow for supportive services that include reasonable costs for basic phone service ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  How does STRMU assistance fit with other HOPWA activities? 

STRMU is one type of the three main types of HOPWA housing activities, along with Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and residency in a housing facility, such as a community residence. The use of funds annually to provide these three types of housing support are consid ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can I use STRMU to help a eligible persons who is homeless? What are the standards for receiving STRMU payments to prevent homelessness? 

No. STRMU can only be used to assist someone currently in housing as an intervention to prevent homelessness. Other HOPWA components can be used to assist someone who is homeless in obtaining housing and other support.

HOPWA funds may only be used for eligible activ ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Are HQS Inspections required in units eligible for STRMU assistance payments? 

No. However, HUD requires grantees and project sponsors administering HOPWA funding to provide safe and sanitary housing that is in compliance with all applicable State and local housing codes. If program staff assesses that a STRMU applicant is residing in substandard ho ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can we assist clients who do not have a rental agreement/lease, mortgage, or utility bill in their name due to criminal history, poor credit, or lack of rental history? 

Yes, but only under certain conditions. Eligible STRMU recipients must have a legal right to reside in the unit and prove responsibility for paying the rent, mortgage or utility costs. As a general matter, if the eligible person is not named on a valid lease/rental agreem ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can STRMU payments for mortgages include property taxes, insurance, and condo fees? 

Yes in some situations. Most homeowners are required to pay property taxes, mortgage insurance premiums, fire and hazard insurance premiums as part of their monthly mortgage payment. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a homeowner's monthly paym ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can STRMU assistance be used for a second mortgage? 

Generally yes. As a general matter, a second mortgage represents a lien on real property. Defaults on mortgages (e.g., nonpayment of loan(s), lapsed insurance, unpaid property taxes, or the commission of waste, among others) may lead residents to foreclosures and eviction ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  How can STRMU be used to assist clients who have a lease or rental agreement naming them as a tenant, but who live with an adult family member? 

STRMU can assist in this scenario under two conditions: 1. Where a client lives with an adult family member and the entire household is assisted and total household income is taken into consideration to meet HOPWA low-income eligibility guidelines, or 2. If the client is ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can STRMU be used to assist clients who rent a separate and discreet residence from a family member naming them as tenant? 

Yes, but only with reasonable accommodation approval as stated in (g) above. HOPWA regulations follow 24 CFR 982.306(d) prohibits assistance to clients if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the family, unless it is ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can we provide assistance to clients who live in mobile homes, trailers, and motor homes? 

Yes, but only in some situations. A rent, mortgage, or utility payment must be the basis for the assistance, and if an applicant presents such documentation and the need is assessed, then STRMU payments for up to 21 weeks of assistance could be permitted under the followi ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  How do requirements for lead-based paint inspections apply for STRMU? 

A lead-based paint inspection is not required in all cases of STRMU assistance. Housing built before 1978 that is assisted with HOPWA dollars, where a pregnant woman or a child under six years resides or is expected to reside, generally must have potential lead exposures ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  What actions are needed if a client is suspected of fraud? 

The HOPWA regulations (24 CFR 574.310 (e)(2)) provide guidance on terminating a client's assistance. It is unlawful to provide false information to the government when applying for "federal public benefit programs" (see Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986, ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Is a household eligible for STRMU assistance whose sole member living with HIV/AIDS is a minor? 

Yes. Written verification must be obtained and maintained in the file indicating that an adult member of the household has legal custody of the minor child, and the entire household income must be taken into consideration for purposes of income eligibility. The child must ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  How is the 21-week period calculated and tracked? 

Section 858(b)(3)(B) of the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act, as amended, specifically states that assistance may not be provided to "any individual for rent, mortgage, or utilities costs accruing over a period of more than 21 weeks of an 52-week period." This publi ...

 5/1/06 HOPWA  Can grantees place caps on the amount of STRMU assistance provided? 

Grantees may establish a dollar limit or caps on the total amount of assistance provided to clients during the 52-week period selected, if applied consistently and in a non-discriminatory manner. Caps should be reasonable enough to assist clients in overcoming the pressin ...

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