On March 21, U.S. Congressmen Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia), and Brad Ashford (D-Nebraska) introduced The Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016 (H.R. 4816), bipartisan legislation addressing the administrative burdens facing small and rural housing authorities across the country.

In his remarks on the House floor today, Rep. Palazzo said, “There is a huge differencebetween housing needs in small town Mississippi, Georgia, or Nebraska, and places such as New York. This bipartisan legislation removes that one-size fits all approach and gives small housing authorities the flexibility to operate more effectively and efficiently to better serve the needs of their residents.”

Among other reforms contained in the bill, H.R. 4816 would simplify inspection and compliance requirements as well as eliminate excessive paperwork for public housing authorities (PHAs) supporting fewer than 550 households. Specifically, the bill limits the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) inspections of housing and voucher units to once every three years, unless the PHA is classified “troubled” by HUD. It also eliminates certain paperwork, including the submission of reports not required of owners and operators of Section 8 private properties, as well as unnecessary environmental reviews for agencies not undergoing new construction. While it contains some new recommendations, H.R. 4816 is the House companion bill to S.2292, introduced by U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and Jon Tester (D-Montana). The bill also aligns with many of the recommendations contained in the NOPE-PHADA SHARP proposal.

As of this writing, the bill has not yet been posted to THOMAS – check there later this week for more information and the official copy. A draft copy of the bill is available on NOPE’s website. NOPE will provide additional coverage soon.

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