In case you missed it (we did), the folks running the Choice Neighborhoods program published an update on July 16, 2010.
This new seven-page document reviews when and where vouchers may be used to fulfill the one-for-one housing replacement rule in the expected grant notice (called a NOFA in this case). It is unclear when the notice will be released. It seems very late to us, and we have already seen what being late did to Promise Neighborhoods applicants.
We expect to closely track the Choice Neighborhoods grant program, much as we did with Promise Neighborhoods. Anyone who would like to receive notices on FAQ updates, etc., may want to subscribe to our Choice Neighborhoods email list.
According to the latest document from HUD:
In markets where rents are low and vacancy rates are persistently high, vouchers support mobility for extremely low‐income families, allowing them to escape concentrated poverty and access better neighborhoods not often available with hard units such as public housing or multifamily assisted housing. In addition, most of these markets tend to have relatively low market rents making the voucher a much more cost‐efficient option than replacing hard units. This frees up capital for replacing hard units in the tighter housing markets. That noted, the Notice of Funding Availability for Choice Neighborhoods will encourage all applicants to replace as many of their demolished and disposed of units as possible with hard units, even if the exception request is approved.
Postscript: The folks running Choice Neighborhoods need to do a much better job on community outreach if they really want to reach out to Promise Neighborhoods applicants (i.e., our readership). I think they earned "raspberries" from us for this a few weeks ago when we wrote about the pre-NOFA. We will continue to call them out on this until they start doing a better job. It's one of the things we do. (smile)