By Lisa Vercauteren, Vice President of Housing Programs
Part of my responsibilities at NCHM is keeping all of our various HUD compliance classes up to date. This is a formidable job in this electronic age of instant information; we are constantly inundated with new regulations, requirements, forms, and guidance. In the last three weeks alone, HUD released two different updates to the MOR form (HUD Form 9834). Guess who had to update the MORS material twice to ensure we were using the current version of the form in our MORS class this week?
In the old days, we could count on the fact that everything we needed to know was right in our handbooks and guidebooks. Sadly, this is no longer the case. In fact, these resources are not updated with regularity any more. The Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook was last updated in 2003. The Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook is even older! Even the HUD Handbook 4350.3 only gets updated about every four years.
So how's a busy manager supposed to keep up?
Let me propose several options for you:
1. Sign up for Multifamily Housing RHIIP (Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Program) Tips. HUD started these posts in the early 2000s as a way to get information to us quickly. Unfortunately not everything is announced in this fashion. For example, ListServ Post #357 came out on May 17th announcing the new version of the MOR form, but the second version that came out about a week later has not been announced yet.
(You can also sign up to receive email on a broad range of federal and state-specific topics, from RAD to REAC to HOME, by going to this page on the HUD website.)
2. Make it a habit to check the HUD website for new HUD Notices on a weekly basis. Be sure to select the proper program office: for Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, select the Office of Public and Indian Housing. For the Multifamily Housing industry, select Office of Housing.
3. Get your name on as many industry group mailing lists as possible. Many times, it will be one of us, and not HUD, that will be the first to alert you to a change.
4. Watch the NCHM website for Breaking News Webinar offerings. When HUD makes a change that requires more explanation than we can give in a news article, we offer these webinars within 30 days of the change to get you up to speed quickly.
Remember, if you do have any questions about changing regulations and you hold a current NCHM certification, you have access to the NCHM eHotline. By logging into your NCHM account, you can submit a question online and one of our staff members will follow up with you within 3 business days. We are all in this together!