Overview of the HUD Review Process
Section 511 of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (Public Housing Reform Act) establishes HUD’s responsibility for reviewing and approving or disapproving each PHA Plan as well as any significant amendments or modifications to a Plan. This responsibility has been entrusted to HUD’s Field Office Public Housing (PH) Directors or HUD Directors for all PHAs, including troubled PHAs. It is the responsibility of the Public Housing Director or designee to ensure that the review process is properly followed and completed within the required 75-day period as established by law.
Review Process and Timeline
Once the PHA submits the PHA Plan to HUD via e-mail, the Field Office will review the Plans submitted by PHAs within their jurisdiction.
The official Date of Submission of a PHA Plan is the date when HUD receives the PHA Plan and the required certifications. The Field Office will establish the 75-day review period for a Plan upon receipt of these documents.
The Field Office is responsible for reviewing the PHA Plan based on the following three statutory standards:
Does the PHA Plan contain all the information that is required? A primary area of review is to ensure that the PHA Plan is complete. If a deficiency is found during the review period, public housing field office staff must promptly inform the PHA of the deficiency and the corrective action required. The Field Office Staff and the PHA must determine if the correction can be completed within the 75-day review period. An "incomplete" Plan would include, for example, a Plan that does not contain the Capital Fund Annual Statement if the PHA is applying for these funds.
Is the information provided as part of the PHA Plan consistent with the data on record at HUD? This review includes a check for consistency with the applicable Consolidated Plan for the PHA’s jurisdiction. The Field Office staff and the PHA must determine if the correction can be completed within the 75-day HUD review period.
Is the information provided as part of the PHA Plan prohibited or inconsistent with QHWRA, the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 or any other applicable Federal law? The Field Office Staff and the PHA must determine if the correction can be completed within the 75-day review period.
Significant amendments or modifications to the plan undergo the same review and approval process as the Annual PHA Plan and are subject to the 75-day review period.
PHA Plan Compliance Review Checklists – a Field Office Tool
Field Offices utilize a PHA Plan Compliance Review Checklist as the official review record for the PHA Plan. There are separate Review Checklists for standard, streamlined annual, and 5-year plans. These checklists are found on the internal HUD PHA Plans web site. Field Offices are responsible for reviewing the contents of the PHA Plan and determining its compliance based on the three statutory standards: Completeness, Consistency and Compliance.
If the reviewer determines that any section of the plan is not in compliance with the three standards, he or she must identify and explain which of the three criteria for disapproval apply in the spaces provided in the checklist.
Reviewers must sign, date and indicate their recommendation for approval or disapproval at the end of the checklists. If deficiencies are noted by the reviewer, those deficiencies should immediately be brought to the attention of the PHA to allow for the additional information to be provided and reviewed by HUD within the 75-day review period.
In addition to the Compliance Review Checklist, Field Offices must perform a Civil Rights Front-End Review of the PHA submitting the PHA Plan to identify any civil rights issues. This review includes a check to see whether the PHA has been found to be a party to any litigation settlements, consent decrees, voluntary consent agreements, or court orders identified by the Office of General Counsel.
Approval or Disapproval of Plans
If the reviewer determines that the PHA Plan conforms to the three statutory standards of completeness, consistency and compliance, the Public Housing (PH) Director, or HUD Director, will approve the Plan. A Plan will be automatically approved if HUD does not disapprove it within the 75-day time frame. Troubled PHAs are exempt from the 75-day automatic approval provision. The plan of a troubled PHA must be approved or disapproved in writing.
The PH Director will send the PHA a letter approving the Plan. After approval of the PHA Plan by HUD, the PHA must make its approved Plan and the required attachments (if any) and supporting documents related to the Plan available for review and inspection at the principal office of the PHA during normal business hours. PHAs are also required to promptly provide a copy of the plan approval letter and at least one copy of the approved plan to each Resident Advisory Board (RAB).
If after reviewing a PHA Plan, the PH Director determines that the Plan does not comply with one or more of the three statutory standards, the Director will disapprove the Plan.
The PH Director may disapprove a Plan for technical or substantive deficiencies. Technical deficiencies are those that do not have an effect on the information that was presented to the RAB or the public.
In the case of technical deficiencies, the PH Director will disapprove the plan and specify a date for the re-submission of the plan with the required corrections. Typically, the turn-around time for approval of a corrected plan is approximately three weeks and should fall within the 75-day review period. A PHA with a Plan deemed technically deficient is not required to consult with the Resident Advisory Board (RAB) or the public after correcting the deficiency, and the PHA may re-submit the Plan without the RAB’s assessment or a public comment/review period.
PHA Plans that are disapproved for substantive deficiencies require consultation with the RAB and are subject to a comment period and a public hearing. The PH Director will specify a reasonable time for resubmission of the plans to allow for correction of deficiencies and the consultation process within the 75-day review period. Substantive deficiencies are those that have an effect on the information that was presented to the RAB or to the public."
Review Process Diagram
Field Offices will conduct the review of PHA Plans of housing authorities designated as "troubled" and those PHAs in transition from or to a "troubled" category. The review may be conducted Recovery Prevention Corp if applicable. The PH Director or HUD Director will issue a written approval or disapproval letter for these PHA Plans. PHA Plans for Troubled PHAs will not be automatically approved if HUD does not release a document by the end of the 75-day review period.
The Field Office may request additional documentation from the PHA, such as Recovery Plans, to aid in making determinations during review of a PHA Plan from a "troubled" PHA.
Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration
PHAs under the Moving to Work Demonstration (MTW) Program may have distinct requirements in lieu of the PHA Plan, determined by their Moving To Work Demonstration Agreement. PHAs operating block grants are exempt from the requirement to submit a PHA Plan and are directed to submit an Annual MTW Plan and an Annual MTW Report. The Annual MTW Plan is a comprehensive framework for the PHA’s activities, including funding allocations. The Annual MTW Plan must be submitted to HUD with a board resolution approving the plan and certifying that a public hearing was held regarding the plan. The Annual MTW Report includes a Consolidated Financial Report describing the sources and uses of funds and will compare the PHA’s performance with its Annual MTW Plan. HUD’s Office of Public Housing Investments has the lead responsibility for the review and approval of MTW Annual Plans. Field Offices have an advisory role in the review of these plans.
MTW PHAs that do not operate block grants are not exempt from the requirement to submit a PHA Plan and must include a separate section describing the activities and uses of funding the PHA is undertaking under the MTW Program. These descriptions will be reviewed by the Field Office following the PHA Plan review process.
Contacting Local Offices
It is recommended that a PHA contact the Field Office through electronic mail to advise of its submission of the PHA Plan. Field Offices should also be advised when the PHA sends the required certifications or any other supporting document requested by the Field Office for the review of the Plan.