Rural Development Voucher Program, 42309-42312 [2016-15393]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 125 / Wednesday, June 29, 2016 / Notices Forest Service State and Private Forestry Cooperative Fire Program. The program provides supplemental funding for State and local firefighting agencies. The Forest Service works cooperatively with State and local firefighting agencies to support their fire suppression efforts. State fire marshals and State forestry officials use form FS–3100–8 (Annual Wildfire Summary Report) to report information to the Forest Service regarding State and local wildfire suppression efforts. The Forest Service is unable to assess the effectiveness of the State and Private Forestry Cooperative Fire Program without this information. Forest Service managers evaluate the information to determine if the Cooperative Fire Program funds used by State and local fire agencies have improved fire suppression capabilities. The Forest Service shares the information with Congress as part of the annual request for funding for this program. The information collected includes the number of fires responded to by State or local firefighting agencies within a fiscal year, as well as the following information pertaining to such fires: • Fire type (timber, structural, or grassland); • Size (in acres) of the fires; • Cause of fires (lightning, campfires, arson, etc.); and • Suppression costs associated with the fires. The data gathered is not available from any other sources. Estimate of Burden per Response: 30 minutes. Type of Respondents: State fire marshals or State forestry officials. Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 56. Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 28 hours. Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 28, 2016 Jkt 238001 techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. Dated: June 21, 2016. James E. Hubbard, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry. [FR Doc. 2016–15335 Filed 6–28–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Shoshone National Forest Travel Management; Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming Forest Service, USDA. Notice of extension of public scoping period for the Shoshone National Forest Travel Management environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Shoshone National Forest (SNF) is extending the public scoping period for the SNF Travel Management environmental impact statement (EIS). The SNF previously published a notice of intent to prepare an EIS as well as notice of public scoping in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016 [81 FR 33655]. The previous notice provided for public scoping through June 27, 2016. DATES: Several individuals and organizations requested an extension of the public scoping period. The SNF Forest Supervisor has decided to accommodate these requests by extending the public scoping period through July 27, 2016. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Rob Robertson, 333 East Main Street, Lander, Wyoming 82520. Comments may also be sent via email to travel_ management_comments@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 307–332–0264. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Robertson at 307–335–2156 or rrobertson@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1– 800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUMMARY: Written comments should be submitted to Shoshone National Forest, Attn: Rob Robertson, 333 E. Main St., Lander, WY 82520, or fax: 307–332–0264; or email at travel-comments-rocky-mountain- SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42309 shoshone@fs.fed.us . Hand-delivered comments must be provided at the Supervisors’ office or any of the Ranger District offices during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays). Electronic comments must be submitted to travel-comments-rockymountain-shoshone@fs.fed.us in an email message, or attached in portable document format (.pdf) or Word (.docx) format. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency’s preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, however. Dated: June 22, 2016. Rick Metzger, Acting Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2016–15394 Filed 6–28–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Rural Development Voucher Program Rural Housing Service, USDA. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in fiscal year (FY) 2006 established the demonstration Rural Development Voucher Program (RDVP), as authorized under Section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949 as amended (42 U.S.C. 1490R) (without regard to Section 542(b)). This Notice informs the public of the general policies and procedures for the RDVP for FY 2016. Rural Development Vouchers are only available to lowincome tenants of Rural Development (RD)-financed multi-family properties where the Rural Rental Housing loan (Section 515) has been prepaid (either through prepayment or foreclosure action); prior to the loan’s maturity date. DATES: In order for eligible tenants to participate, a voucher obligation form must be submitted within 10 months of the foreclosure or pre-payment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie B.M. White, Director, MultiSUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 42310 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 125 / Wednesday, June 29, 2016 / Notices Family Housing Portfolio Management Division, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0782, Washington, DC 20250, telephone (202) 720–1615. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TDD by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES I. Background This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance to eligible tenants when a property owner either prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure after September 30, 2005. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114–113, provided that the Secretary of the USDA shall carry out the Rural Development Voucher program as follows: That of the funds made available under this heading, $15,000,000, shall be available for rural housing vouchers to any low-income household (including those not receiving rental assistance) residing in a property financed with a Section 515 loan which has been prepaid after September 30, 2005. Provided further, that the amount of such voucher shall be the difference between comparable market rent for the Section 515 unit and the tenant paid rent for such unit: Provided further, that funds made available for such vouchers shall be subject to the availability of annual appropriations: Provided further, that the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, administer such vouchers with current regulations and administrative guidance applicable to Section 8 housing vouchers administered by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance to the eligible impacted families when an owner prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure. II. Design Features of the RDVP This section sets forth the design features of the RDVP, including the eligibility of tenants, the inspection of the housing units, and the calculation of the subsidy amount. Rural Development Vouchers under this part are administered by the Rural Housing Service, an agency under the RD mission area, in accordance with requirements set forth in this Notice and further explained in, ‘‘The Rural Development Voucher Program Guide,’’ which can be obtained by contacting any RD Office. Contact information for VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 28, 2016 Jkt 238001 RD offices can be found at: http:// www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/stateoffices. These requirements are generally based on the housing choice voucher program regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set forth at 24 CFR part 982, unless otherwise noted by this Notice. The RDVP is intended to offer protection to eligible Multi-Family Housing tenants in properties financed through RD’s Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program (Section 515 property) who may be subject to economic hardship due to the property owner’s prepayment of the RD mortgage. When the owner of a Section 515 property pays off the loan prior to the loan’s maturity date (either through prepayment or foreclosure action), the RD affordable housing requirements and Rental Assistance (RA) subsidies generally cease to exist. Rents may increase, thereby making the housing unaffordable to tenants. Regardless, the tenant may become responsible for the full payment of rent when a prepayment occurs, whether or not the rent increases. The Rural Development Voucher is intended to help tenants by providing an annual rental subsidy, renewable on the terms and conditions set forth herein and subject to the availability of funds, that will supplement the tenant’s rent payment. This program enables a tenant to make an informed decision about remaining in the property, moving to a new property, or obtaining other financial housing assistance. Lowincome tenants in the prepaying property are eligible to receive a voucher to use at their current rental property, or to take to any other rental unit in the United States and its territories. Tenants in properties foreclosed on by RD are eligible for a Rural Development Voucher under the same conditions as properties that go through the standard prepayment process. There are some general limitations on the use of a voucher: • The rental unit must pass a RD health and safety inspection, and the owner must be willing to accept a Rural Development Voucher. • Rural Development Vouchers cannot be used for units in subsidized housing, like Section 8 and public housing, where two housing subsidies would result. The Rural Development Voucher may be used for rental units in other properties financed by RD, but it cannot be used in combination with the RD RA program. • The Rural Development Voucher may not be used to purchase a home. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 a. Tenant Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rural Development Voucher under this Notice, the tenant must meet the following conditions: 1. Be residing in the Section 515 project on the date of the prepayment of the Section 515 loan or foreclosure by RD; 2. Be a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. citizen national, or a resident alien that meets certain qualifications. In accordance with Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 1436a), financial assistance under this voucher program can only be provided to a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. non-citizen national, or a resident alien that meets certain qualifications. RD considers the tenant who applies for the voucher under this Notice as the individual receiving the financial assistance from the voucher. Accordingly, the individual tenant who applies for a voucher under this program must submit the following documentation (42 U.S.C. 1436a (d)): i. For citizens, a written declaration of U.S. citizenship signed under the penalty of perjury. RD may request verification of the declaration by requiring presentation of a U.S. passport, Social Security card, or other appropriate documentation, as determined by RD; ii. For non-citizens who are 62 years of age or older, the evidence consists of: A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status; and B. Proof of age document; and iii. For all other non-citizens: A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status; B. Alien registration documentation or other proof of immigration registration from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that contains the individual’s alien admission number or alien file number; and C. A signed verification consent form that provides that evidence of eligible immigration status may be released to RD and USCIS for purposes of verifying the immigration status of the individual. RD shall provide a reasonable opportunity, not to exceed 30 days, for an individual to submit evidence indicating a satisfactory immigration status, or to appeal to the Immigration and Naturalization Service the verification determination of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and 3. Be a low-income tenant on the date of the prepayment or foreclosure. A lowincome tenant is a tenant whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the tenant median income for the area as defined by HUD. HUD’s definition of E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 125 / Wednesday, June 29, 2016 / Notices median income can be found at: https:// www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/ il16/index_mfi.html. During the prepayment or foreclosure process, RD will evaluate the tenant to determine if the tenant is low-income. If RD determines a tenant is low-income, then within 90 days following the foreclosure or prepayment, RD will send the tenant a letter offering the tenant a voucher and will enclose a Voucher Obligation Request Form and a citizenship declaration form. If the tenant wants to participate in the RDVP, the tenant has 10 months from the date of prepayment or foreclosure to return the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the citizenship declaration to the local RD Office. If RD determines that the tenant is ineligible, RD will provide administrative appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR part 11. b. Obtaining a Voucher. RD will monitor the prepayment request process or foreclosure process, as applicable. As part of prepayment or foreclosure of the Section 515 property, RD will determine market rents in the housing market area prior to the date of prepayment or foreclosure. The market rents will be used to calculate the amount of the voucher each tenant is entitled to receive. As noted above, all tenants will be notified if they are eligible and the amount of the voucher within 90 days following the date of prepayment or foreclosure. The tenant notice will include a description of the RDVP, a Voucher Obligation Request Form, and letter from RD offering the tenant participation in RDVP. The tenant has 10 months from the date of prepayment or foreclosure to return the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the signed citizenship declaration. Failure to submit the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the signed citizenship declaration within the required timeframes eliminates the tenant’s opportunity to receive a voucher. A tenant’s failure to respond within the required timeframes is not appealable. Once the tenant returns the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the citizenship declaration to RD, a voucher will be issued within 30 days subject to the availability of funding. All information necessary for a housing search, explanations of unit acceptability, and RD contact information will be provided by RD to the tenant after the Voucher Obligation Request Form and citizenship declaration are received. In cases where the foreclosure sale yields no successful bidders and the property enters RD inventory, vouchers will only be offered upon the property’s entry into VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 28, 2016 Jkt 238001 inventory. The voucher cannot be used at an inventory property. The tenant receiving a Rural Development Voucher has an initial period of 60 calendar days from issuance of the voucher to find a housing unit. At its discretion, RD may grant one or more extensions of the initial period for up to an additional 60 days. Generally, the maximum voucher period for any tenant participating in the RDVP is 120 days. RD will extend the voucher search period beyond the 120 days only if the tenant needs and requests an extension of the initial period as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to a disabled family member. If the Rural Development Voucher remains unused after a period of 150 days from the date of original issuance, the Rural Development Voucher will become void, any funding will be cancelled, and the tenant will no longer be eligible to receive a Rural Development Voucher at that property. If a tenant previously participated in the RDVP and was subsequently terminated, that tenant is ineligible for future participation in the RDVP. c. Initial Lease Term. The initial lease term for the housing unit where the tenant wishes to use the Rural Development Voucher must be for one year. The ‘‘initial lease’’ is the first lease signed by and between the tenant and the property owner. d. Inspection of Units and Unit Approval. Once the tenant finds a housing unit, Rural Development will inspect and determine if the housing standard is acceptable within 30 days of RD’s receipt of the HUD Form 52517, ‘‘Request for Tenancy Approval Housing Choice Voucher Program’’ found at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/ documents/huddoc?id=52517.pdf and the Disclosure of Information on LeadBased Paint Hazards. The inspection standards currently in effect for the RD Section 515 Multi-Family Housing program apply to the RDVP. RD must inspect the unit and ensure that the unit meets the housing inspection standards set forth at 7 CFR 3560.103. Under no circumstances will RD make voucher rental payments for any period of time prior to the date that RD physically inspects the unit and determines the unit meets the housing inspection standards. In the case of properties financed by RD under the Section 515 program, RD will only accept the results of physical inspections performed no more than one year prior to the date of receipt by RD of Form HUD 52517, in order to make determinations on acceptable housing standards. Before approving tenancy or executing a PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42311 Housing Assistance Payments contract, RD must first determine that the following conditions are met: 1. The unit has been inspected by RD and passes the housing standards inspection or has otherwise been found acceptable by RD, as noted previously; and 2. The lease includes the HUD Tenancy Addendum. A copy of the HUD Tenancy Addendum will be provided by RD when the tenant is informed he/she is eligible for a voucher. Once the conditions in the above paragraph are met, RD will approve the unit for leasing. RD will then execute with the owner a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, Form HUD– 52641. The HAP contract must be executed before Rural Development Voucher payments can be made. RD will attempt to execute the HAP contract on behalf of the tenant before the beginning of the lease term. In the event that this does not occur, the HAP contract may be executed up to 60 calendar days after the beginning of the lease term. If the HAP contract is executed during this 60day period, RD will make retroactive housing assistance payments to the owner, on behalf of the tenant, to cover the portion of the approved lease term before execution of the HAP contract. The HAP contract and lease will need to be revised to the later effective date. RD will not execute a HAP contract that is dated prior to either the prepayment date of the Section 515 loan, or the date of foreclosure, as appropriate. Any HAP contract executed after the 60-day period will be considered untimely. If the failure to execute the HAP contract within the aforementioned 60-day period lies with the owner, as determined by RD, then RD will not pay any housing assistance payment to the owner for that period. e. Subsidy Calculations for Rural Development Vouchers. As stated earlier, an eligible tenant will be notified of the maximum voucher amount within 90 days following prepayment or foreclosure. The maximum voucher amount for the RDVP is the difference between the market rent in the housing market area and the tenant’s contribution on the date of the prepayment, as determined by RD. The voucher amount will be based on the market rent; the voucher amount will never exceed the market rent at the time of prepayment even if the tenant chooses to stay in-place. Also, in no event will the Rural Development Voucher payment exceed the actual tenant lease rent. The amount of the voucher will not change either E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 42312 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 125 / Wednesday, June 29, 2016 / Notices over time or if the tenant chooses to move to a more expensive location. f. Mobility and Portability of Rural Development Vouchers. An eligible tenant that is issued a Rural Development Voucher may elect to use the voucher in the same project, or may choose to move to another location. The Rural Development Voucher may be used at the prepaid property or any other rental unit in the United States and its territories that passes RD physical inspection standards, and where the owner will accept a Rural Development Voucher and execute a Form HUD 52641. Both the tenant and landlord must inform RD if the tenant plans to move during the HAP agreement term, even to a new unit in the same complex. All moves (within a complex or to another complex) require a new voucher obligation form, a new inspection by RD, and a new HAP agreement. In addition, HUD Section 8 and federally-assisted public housing are excluded from the RDVP because those units are already federally subsidized; tenants with a Rural Development Voucher would have to give up the Rural Development Voucher to accept those other types of assistance at those properties. However, while the Rural Development Voucher may be used in other properties financed by RD, it cannot be used in combination with the RD RA program. Tenants with a Rural Development Voucher that apply for housing in an RD-financed property must choose between using the voucher or RA, if available. If the tenant relinquishes the Rural Development Voucher in favor of RA, the tenant is not eligible to receive another Rural Development Voucher while the tenant is receiving such RA. g. Term of Funding and Conditions for Renewal for Rural Development Vouchers. The RDVP provides voucher assistance over 12 monthly payments. The voucher is issued to the household in the name of the primary tenant as the voucher holder. The voucher is not transferable from the voucher holder to any other household member, except in the case of the voucher holder’s death or involuntary household separation, such as the incarceration of the voucher holder or transfer of the voucher holder to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Upon receiving documentation of such cases, the voucher may be transferred at the Agency’s discretion to another tenant on the voucher holder’s lease. The voucher is renewable subject to the availability of appropriations to the USDA. In order to renew a voucher, a tenant must return a signed Voucher Obligation Request Form, which will be VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Jun 28, 2016 Jkt 238001 sent to the tenant within 60–90 days before the current voucher expires. If the voucher holder fails to return the renewal Voucher Obligation Request Form before the current voucher funding expires, the voucher will be terminated and no renewal will occur. In order to ensure continued eligibility to use the Rural Development Voucher, tenants must certify at the time they apply for renewal of the voucher that the current tenant income does not exceed the ‘‘maximum income level,’’ which is 80 percent of family median income (a HUD dataset broken down by State, and then by county). RD will advise the tenant of the maximum income level when the renewal Voucher Obligation Request Form is sent. Renewal requests will enjoy no preference over other voucher requests, and will be processed as described in this Notice. III. Non-Discrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027, found online at http:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_ cust.html, and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992 to request the form. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–9410; (2) fax (202) 690–7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. IV. Paperwork Reduction Act The information collection requirements contained in this document are those of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3520) and assigned OMB control number 2577–0169. Dated: June 22, 2016. Tony Hernandez, Administrator, Rural Housing Service. [FR Doc. 2016–15393 Filed 6–28–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XV–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of an opportunity to apply for membership on the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce is currently seeking applications for membership on the President’s Advisory Council (Advisory Council) on Doing Business in Africa. The purpose of the Advisory Council is to advise the President through the Secretary of Commerce on strengthening commercial engagement between the United States and Africa, with a focus on advancing the President’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign as described in the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa of June 14, 2012. DATES: All applications for immediate consideration for appointment must be received by the Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on July 22, 2016. After that date, ITA will continue to accept applications under this notice for a period of up to two years from the deadline to fill any vacancies that may arise. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1

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[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 125 (Wednesday, June 29, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42309-42312]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-15393]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Housing Service


Rural Development Voucher Program

AGENCY: Rural Housing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in fiscal year (FY) 
2006 established the demonstration Rural Development Voucher Program 
(RDVP), as authorized under Section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949 as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 1490R) (without regard to Section 542(b)). This 
Notice informs the public of the general policies and procedures for 
the RDVP for FY 2016. Rural Development Vouchers are only available to 
low-income tenants of Rural Development (RD)-financed multi-family 
properties where the Rural Rental Housing loan (Section 515) has been 
prepaid (either through prepayment or foreclosure action); prior to the 
loan's maturity date.

DATES: In order for eligible tenants to participate, a voucher 
obligation form must be submitted within 10 months of the foreclosure 
or pre-payment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie B.M. White, Director, Multi-

[[Page 42310]]

Family Housing Portfolio Management Division, Rural Development, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0782, 
Washington, DC 20250, telephone (202) 720-1615. Persons with hearing or 
speech impairments may access this number via TDD by calling the toll-
free Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance 
to eligible tenants when a property owner either prepays a Section 515 
loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure after September 30, 2005.
    The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-113, 
provided that the Secretary of the USDA shall carry out the Rural 
Development Voucher program as follows:
    That of the funds made available under this heading, $15,000,000, 
shall be available for rural housing vouchers to any low-income 
household (including those not receiving rental assistance) residing in 
a property financed with a Section 515 loan which has been prepaid 
after September 30, 2005. Provided further, that the amount of such 
voucher shall be the difference between comparable market rent for the 
Section 515 unit and the tenant paid rent for such unit: Provided 
further, that funds made available for such vouchers shall be subject 
to the availability of annual appropriations: Provided further, that 
the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, administer such 
vouchers with current regulations and administrative guidance 
applicable to Section 8 housing vouchers administered by the Secretary 
of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance 
to the eligible impacted families when an owner prepays a Section 515 
loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure.

II. Design Features of the RDVP

    This section sets forth the design features of the RDVP, including 
the eligibility of tenants, the inspection of the housing units, and 
the calculation of the subsidy amount.
    Rural Development Vouchers under this part are administered by the 
Rural Housing Service, an agency under the RD mission area, in 
accordance with requirements set forth in this Notice and further 
explained in, ``The Rural Development Voucher Program Guide,'' which 
can be obtained by contacting any RD Office. Contact information for RD 
offices can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. These requirements are generally based on the housing choice 
voucher program regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development (HUD) set forth at 24 CFR part 982, unless otherwise noted 
by this Notice.
    The RDVP is intended to offer protection to eligible Multi-Family 
Housing tenants in properties financed through RD's Section 515 Rural 
Rental Housing program (Section 515 property) who may be subject to 
economic hardship due to the property owner's prepayment of the RD 
mortgage. When the owner of a Section 515 property pays off the loan 
prior to the loan's maturity date (either through prepayment or 
foreclosure action), the RD affordable housing requirements and Rental 
Assistance (RA) subsidies generally cease to exist. Rents may increase, 
thereby making the housing unaffordable to tenants. Regardless, the 
tenant may become responsible for the full payment of rent when a 
prepayment occurs, whether or not the rent increases.
    The Rural Development Voucher is intended to help tenants by 
providing an annual rental subsidy, renewable on the terms and 
conditions set forth herein and subject to the availability of funds, 
that will supplement the tenant's rent payment. This program enables a 
tenant to make an informed decision about remaining in the property, 
moving to a new property, or obtaining other financial housing 
assistance. Low-income tenants in the prepaying property are eligible 
to receive a voucher to use at their current rental property, or to 
take to any other rental unit in the United States and its territories. 
Tenants in properties foreclosed on by RD are eligible for a Rural 
Development Voucher under the same conditions as properties that go 
through the standard prepayment process.
    There are some general limitations on the use of a voucher:
     The rental unit must pass a RD health and safety 
inspection, and the owner must be willing to accept a Rural Development 
Voucher.
     Rural Development Vouchers cannot be used for units in 
subsidized housing, like Section 8 and public housing, where two 
housing subsidies would result. The Rural Development Voucher may be 
used for rental units in other properties financed by RD, but it cannot 
be used in combination with the RD RA program.
     The Rural Development Voucher may not be used to purchase 
a home.
    a. Tenant Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rural 
Development Voucher under this Notice, the tenant must meet the 
following conditions:
    1. Be residing in the Section 515 project on the date of the 
prepayment of the Section 515 loan or foreclosure by RD;
    2. Be a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. citizen national, or a 
resident alien that meets certain qualifications. In accordance with 
Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (42 
U.S.C. 1436a), financial assistance under this voucher program can only 
be provided to a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. non-citizen 
national, or a resident alien that meets certain qualifications. RD 
considers the tenant who applies for the voucher under this Notice as 
the individual receiving the financial assistance from the voucher. 
Accordingly, the individual tenant who applies for a voucher under this 
program must submit the following documentation (42 U.S.C. 1436a (d)):
    i. For citizens, a written declaration of U.S. citizenship signed 
under the penalty of perjury. RD may request verification of the 
declaration by requiring presentation of a U.S. passport, Social 
Security card, or other appropriate documentation, as determined by RD;
    ii. For non-citizens who are 62 years of age or older, the evidence 
consists of:
    A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status; and
    B. Proof of age document; and
    iii. For all other non-citizens:
    A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status;
    B. Alien registration documentation or other proof of immigration 
registration from the United States Citizenship and Immigration 
Services (USCIS) that contains the individual's alien admission number 
or alien file number; and
    C. A signed verification consent form that provides that evidence 
of eligible immigration status may be released to RD and USCIS for 
purposes of verifying the immigration status of the individual. RD 
shall provide a reasonable opportunity, not to exceed 30 days, for an 
individual to submit evidence indicating a satisfactory immigration 
status, or to appeal to the Immigration and Naturalization Service the 
verification determination of the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service; and
    3. Be a low-income tenant on the date of the prepayment or 
foreclosure. A low-income tenant is a tenant whose annual income does 
not exceed 80 percent of the tenant median income for the area as 
defined by HUD. HUD's definition of

[[Page 42311]]

median income can be found at: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il16/index_mfi.html.
    During the prepayment or foreclosure process, RD will evaluate the 
tenant to determine if the tenant is low-income. If RD determines a 
tenant is low-income, then within 90 days following the foreclosure or 
prepayment, RD will send the tenant a letter offering the tenant a 
voucher and will enclose a Voucher Obligation Request Form and a 
citizenship declaration form. If the tenant wants to participate in the 
RDVP, the tenant has 10 months from the date of prepayment or 
foreclosure to return the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the 
citizenship declaration to the local RD Office. If RD determines that 
the tenant is ineligible, RD will provide administrative appeal rights 
in accordance with 7 CFR part 11.
    b. Obtaining a Voucher. RD will monitor the prepayment request 
process or foreclosure process, as applicable. As part of prepayment or 
foreclosure of the Section 515 property, RD will determine market rents 
in the housing market area prior to the date of prepayment or 
foreclosure. The market rents will be used to calculate the amount of 
the voucher each tenant is entitled to receive.
    As noted above, all tenants will be notified if they are eligible 
and the amount of the voucher within 90 days following the date of 
prepayment or foreclosure. The tenant notice will include a description 
of the RDVP, a Voucher Obligation Request Form, and letter from RD 
offering the tenant participation in RDVP. The tenant has 10 months 
from the date of prepayment or foreclosure to return the Voucher 
Obligation Request Form and the signed citizenship declaration. Failure 
to submit the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the signed 
citizenship declaration within the required timeframes eliminates the 
tenant's opportunity to receive a voucher. A tenant's failure to 
respond within the required timeframes is not appealable.
    Once the tenant returns the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the 
citizenship declaration to RD, a voucher will be issued within 30 days 
subject to the availability of funding. All information necessary for a 
housing search, explanations of unit acceptability, and RD contact 
information will be provided by RD to the tenant after the Voucher 
Obligation Request Form and citizenship declaration are received. In 
cases where the foreclosure sale yields no successful bidders and the 
property enters RD inventory, vouchers will only be offered upon the 
property's entry into inventory. The voucher cannot be used at an 
inventory property.
    The tenant receiving a Rural Development Voucher has an initial 
period of 60 calendar days from issuance of the voucher to find a 
housing unit. At its discretion, RD may grant one or more extensions of 
the initial period for up to an additional 60 days. Generally, the 
maximum voucher period for any tenant participating in the RDVP is 120 
days. RD will extend the voucher search period beyond the 120 days only 
if the tenant needs and requests an extension of the initial period as 
a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to a disabled 
family member. If the Rural Development Voucher remains unused after a 
period of 150 days from the date of original issuance, the Rural 
Development Voucher will become void, any funding will be cancelled, 
and the tenant will no longer be eligible to receive a Rural 
Development Voucher at that property.
    If a tenant previously participated in the RDVP and was 
subsequently terminated, that tenant is ineligible for future 
participation in the RDVP.
    c. Initial Lease Term. The initial lease term for the housing unit 
where the tenant wishes to use the Rural Development Voucher must be 
for one year. The ``initial lease'' is the first lease signed by and 
between the tenant and the property owner.
    d. Inspection of Units and Unit Approval. Once the tenant finds a 
housing unit, Rural Development will inspect and determine if the 
housing standard is acceptable within 30 days of RD's receipt of the 
HUD Form 52517, ``Request for Tenancy Approval Housing Choice Voucher 
Program'' found at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=52517.pdf and the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based 
Paint Hazards. The inspection standards currently in effect for the RD 
Section 515 Multi-Family Housing program apply to the RDVP. RD must 
inspect the unit and ensure that the unit meets the housing inspection 
standards set forth at 7 CFR 3560.103. Under no circumstances will RD 
make voucher rental payments for any period of time prior to the date 
that RD physically inspects the unit and determines the unit meets the 
housing inspection standards. In the case of properties financed by RD 
under the Section 515 program, RD will only accept the results of 
physical inspections performed no more than one year prior to the date 
of receipt by RD of Form HUD 52517, in order to make determinations on 
acceptable housing standards. Before approving tenancy or executing a 
Housing Assistance Payments contract, RD must first determine that the 
following conditions are met:
    1. The unit has been inspected by RD and passes the housing 
standards inspection or has otherwise been found acceptable by RD, as 
noted previously; and
    2. The lease includes the HUD Tenancy Addendum. A copy of the HUD 
Tenancy Addendum will be provided by RD when the tenant is informed he/
she is eligible for a voucher.
    Once the conditions in the above paragraph are met, RD will approve 
the unit for leasing. RD will then execute with the owner a Housing 
Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, Form HUD-52641. The HAP contract 
must be executed before Rural Development Voucher payments can be made. 
RD will attempt to execute the HAP contract on behalf of the tenant 
before the beginning of the lease term. In the event that this does not 
occur, the HAP contract may be executed up to 60 calendar days after 
the beginning of the lease term. If the HAP contract is executed during 
this 60-day period, RD will make retroactive housing assistance 
payments to the owner, on behalf of the tenant, to cover the portion of 
the approved lease term before execution of the HAP contract. The HAP 
contract and lease will need to be revised to the later effective date. 
RD will not execute a HAP contract that is dated prior to either the 
prepayment date of the Section 515 loan, or the date of foreclosure, as 
appropriate. Any HAP contract executed after the 60-day period will be 
considered untimely. If the failure to execute the HAP contract within 
the aforementioned 60-day period lies with the owner, as determined by 
RD, then RD will not pay any housing assistance payment to the owner 
for that period.
    e. Subsidy Calculations for Rural Development Vouchers. As stated 
earlier, an eligible tenant will be notified of the maximum voucher 
amount within 90 days following prepayment or foreclosure. The maximum 
voucher amount for the RDVP is the difference between the market rent 
in the housing market area and the tenant's contribution on the date of 
the prepayment, as determined by RD. The voucher amount will be based 
on the market rent; the voucher amount will never exceed the market 
rent at the time of prepayment even if the tenant chooses to stay in-
place.
    Also, in no event will the Rural Development Voucher payment exceed 
the actual tenant lease rent. The amount of the voucher will not change 
either

[[Page 42312]]

over time or if the tenant chooses to move to a more expensive 
location.
    f. Mobility and Portability of Rural Development Vouchers. An 
eligible tenant that is issued a Rural Development Voucher may elect to 
use the voucher in the same project, or may choose to move to another 
location. The Rural Development Voucher may be used at the prepaid 
property or any other rental unit in the United States and its 
territories that passes RD physical inspection standards, and where the 
owner will accept a Rural Development Voucher and execute a Form HUD 
52641. Both the tenant and landlord must inform RD if the tenant plans 
to move during the HAP agreement term, even to a new unit in the same 
complex. All moves (within a complex or to another complex) require a 
new voucher obligation form, a new inspection by RD, and a new HAP 
agreement. In addition, HUD Section 8 and federally-assisted public 
housing are excluded from the RDVP because those units are already 
federally subsidized; tenants with a Rural Development Voucher would 
have to give up the Rural Development Voucher to accept those other 
types of assistance at those properties. However, while the Rural 
Development Voucher may be used in other properties financed by RD, it 
cannot be used in combination with the RD RA program. Tenants with a 
Rural Development Voucher that apply for housing in an RD-financed 
property must choose between using the voucher or RA, if available. If 
the tenant relinquishes the Rural Development Voucher in favor of RA, 
the tenant is not eligible to receive another Rural Development Voucher 
while the tenant is receiving such RA.
    g. Term of Funding and Conditions for Renewal for Rural Development 
Vouchers. The RDVP provides voucher assistance over 12 monthly 
payments. The voucher is issued to the household in the name of the 
primary tenant as the voucher holder. The voucher is not transferable 
from the voucher holder to any other household member, except in the 
case of the voucher holder's death or involuntary household separation, 
such as the incarceration of the voucher holder or transfer of the 
voucher holder to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Upon 
receiving documentation of such cases, the voucher may be transferred 
at the Agency's discretion to another tenant on the voucher holder's 
lease.
    The voucher is renewable subject to the availability of 
appropriations to the USDA. In order to renew a voucher, a tenant must 
return a signed Voucher Obligation Request Form, which will be sent to 
the tenant within 60-90 days before the current voucher expires. If the 
voucher holder fails to return the renewal Voucher Obligation Request 
Form before the current voucher funding expires, the voucher will be 
terminated and no renewal will occur.
    In order to ensure continued eligibility to use the Rural 
Development Voucher, tenants must certify at the time they apply for 
renewal of the voucher that the current tenant income does not exceed 
the ``maximum income level,'' which is 80 percent of family median 
income (a HUD dataset broken down by State, and then by county). RD 
will advise the tenant of the maximum income level when the renewal 
Voucher Obligation Request Form is sent.
    Renewal requests will enjoy no preference over other voucher 
requests, and will be processed as described in this Notice.

III. Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA its 
Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA programs are prohibited from discrimination based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, 
family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office or 
write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the 
information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint 
form, call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. Submit your completed 
form or letter to USDA by:
    (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC 20250-9410;
    (2) fax (202) 690-7442; or
    (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov
    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection requirements contained in this document 
are those of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) and assigned OMB 
control number 2577-0169.

     Dated: June 22, 2016.
Tony Hernandez,
Administrator, Rural Housing Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-15393 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P