In an effort to help you stay as informed as possible on COVID-19, the New York Housing Conference has compiled the following list of resources. We’ll be updating it regularly as more resources are made available. 

We’ve also been working with the New York Congressional delegation to make sure housing and homelessness assistance is included in the latest federal aid package under discussion. We sent a letter to the New York Congressional delegation last week with our recommendations, backed by 20 New York housing and homelessness nonprofits. Since then, we’ve increased our ask to $15 billion for Emergency Solutions Grant funding, following updated recommendations of the National Low Income Housing Coalition based on an academic report estimating the number of emergency and observational or quarantine beds for the US homeless population. 

Updated March 24.

Upcoming Webinars and Calls

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness is hosting a webinar on COVID-19 Planning and Response: Isolation and Quarantine: Lessons Learned from Seattle & King County on Wednesday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. You can register here.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is hosting weekly national calls on COVID-19 and housing/homelessness every Monday afternoon.

Guidance for Renters

The New York State court system has suspended all eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders until further notice (they have postponed all non-essential court functions). 

If you live in a building with a Fannie Mae– or Freddie Mac-backed loan, the owner can get forbearance on their loan if they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Office of Rent Administration and Tenant Protection Unit has extended all agency matters that were not final as of March 13, 2020, for the purposes of filing submissions, by 30 days and all agency hearings, conferences, and continuances are postponed.

HPD Section 8 tenants: HPD has closed the Section 8 customer service office at 100 Gold Street until at least March 30. HPD said they will continue to pay subsidies until final determinations are made. During that time, HPD will: 

  • Automatically extend vouchers that are set to expire, 
  • Suspend terminations that are in process until further notice
  • Postpone and reschedule tenant conferences and briefings, 
  • Cancel hearings for appeal until further notice 

Also, all non-emergency Housing Quality Standard inspections are suspended until further notice. 

Voucher holders facing rent hardships due to drops in income should email DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov or fax at 212-863-5299. 

HCR Section 8 Tenants: Appointments with the HCR Section 8 voucher program in New York City will be conducted by telephone or email. You may still leave a message at the direct extension for your case manager, or call the general phone number at (212) 480-6672. Calls will be returned as soon as possible. Appointments may need to be temporarily rescheduled during this transition. 

Also, they will only conduct Housing Quality Standards inspections for families new to the program or relocating, and in response to immediate health and safety complaints. Annual re-inspections may be temporarily delayed. 

HCR Section 8 voucher families and landlords outside of New York City should check with their local administrator.    

Guidance for Homeowners

HUD (FHA), Fannie and Freddie have suspended all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for 60 days (until May 17, 2020) and may extend it further. Impacted homeowners are also eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Find out if Fannie Mae owns your loan here or if Freddie Mac owns it here

The Federal Reserve, along with the other federal financial institution regulatory agencies and the state banking regulators, issued a joint statement encouraging financial institutions to work with borrowers affected by COVID-19. In the statement they said they will not criticize institutions for working with affected borrowers in a safe and sound manner, and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs). 

New York State Department of Financial Services issued guidance urging all state regulated and exempt mortgage servicers to support people affected by COVID-19 by, “Forbearing mortgage payments for 90 days from their due dates, refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies for 90 days, waiving late payment fees and any online payment fees for a period of 90 days, postponing foreclosures and evictions for 90 days,” and several other actions. 

If you are looking for assistance, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods provides free foreclosure prevention help statewide and has COVID-19 resources for homeowners, including connecting to get answers on basic non-legal questions, and advice about scams and contacting lenders.  

Weatherization: The New York State Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) staff are working from remote locations but all daily operations of the program continue uninterrupted.

Guidance for Multifamily Building Owners

The NYC Department of Health has a COVID-19 FAQ for residential buildings, including safety measures, notification about sick residents and the temporary eviction moratorium. 

At the end of last week (3/20) Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22. However, the guidance noted that building cleaning and maintenance workers and construction workers — including skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, and other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes — were essential business functions and therefore not subject to the in-person restriction. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance on the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus. Eviction suspensions are in place while a property owner remains in forbearance. Forbearance is available to all multifamily properties with Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed performing multifamily mortgage negatively affected by the coronavirus national emergency.

As noted above for homeowners, the Federal Reserve, along with the other federal financial institution regulatory agencies and the state banking regulators, issued a joint statement encouraging financial institutions to work with borrowers affected by COVID-19. They said they will not criticize institutions for working with affected borrowers in a safe and sound manner, and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).

The Federal Housing Administration published a Q&A for Office of Multifamily Housing stakeholders related to COVID-19 touching on emergency preparedness, resident health, operations, and waivers and extensions. HUD also published a Q&A for public housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Project-based Voucher Programs and Native American programs. 

In response to COVID-19, the Department of Buildings will be limiting traffic to their offices by implementing mandatory operational changes.

Nixon Peabody has several posts with guidance for multifamily building owners. They summarized the update to HUD’s FAQ for owners of multifamily assisted housing and the original FAQ. They also posted their own guidance for multifamily housing owners and managers (original version here). 

Section 8: As noted above, HPD has closed their Section 8 office and is automatically extending Section 8 vouchers and postponing or canceling meetings. Building owners with questions about HPD Section 8 tenants can email DTROS@hpd.nyc.gov or fax at 212-863-8526.

For HCR’s Section 8 program, annual re-inspections may be temporarily delayed.  Additional information will be forthcoming. Owners and managers should monitor the Landlord Portal.  

Weatherization: The New York State Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) staff are working from remote locations but all daily operations of the program continue uninterrupted.

Guidance Related to Public Housing

NYCHA has halted residential evictions until the state of emergency in New York City is lifted. All tenants experiencing loss of income are encouraged to apply for the rent hardship program. Please click here to view conditions needed to qualify for the program and other financial services.

NYCHA’s service Window is now closed until at least April 19.  Service papers may still be mailed out to 90 Church Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10007, Attn: Law Department/Service.

You can find more information in NYCHA’s frequent updates, including an update with information about food pantries, DFTA food sites, how to apply for food stamps, the schedule of City Harvest and Food Bank distributions at NYCHA developments, NYCHA employee equipment and DOHMH protocols. The previous update had information about their disinfecting processes, personal protective equipment for employees. An update Friday (3/20) included information on banking services, NYCHA’s rent hardship program, and DOE and DFTA Grab and Go food sites. An update Wednesday (3/18) covered a range of topics including canceling their March board meeting, communication with residents, cleaning policies and checking in on vulnerable residents. An update Monday (3/16) said that effective Tuesday, March 17, NYCHA’s property management offices will be open, but direct-contact meetings with residents will be suspended. Also, NYCHA staff will continue to perform EMERGENCY maintenance and repairs but with extra precautions. 

Guidance for Residents and Owners of Senior and Supportive Housing

NYS Office of Mental Health released an FAQ for supporting housing providers affected by COVID-19.

LiveOn New York has a list of resources for older adults and providers of services for older adults, including nutrition resources. Leading Age New York has a site with updates and information, focusing on the latest regulations, for organizations that serve older New Yorkers. 

The New York State Department of Health released COVID-19 Guidance for Home Health Care Agencies and Hospice Providers, answering questions like whether providers need to change infection control policies or need to screen patients upon admission or staff upon arriving at work. 

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes, including restricting visitors, canceling communal dining and group activities, and screening staff and residents for fever and respiratory symptoms. 

CSH created a resource for supportive housing residents, staff, providers and property managers, including how to educate staff and residents, getting supplies for residents, reviewing visitor policies and quarantine preparedness.

Guidance for Homeless Services Providers

The New York City Department of Health published COVID-19 guidance for homeless shelters, including planning for while there is limited transmission of COVID-19 and facility readiness and response to widespread community transmission of COVID-19. They also posted guidance for congregate settings, which includes homeless shelters. The document covers preventing introduction of the coronavirus into the facility and rapid detection and management. 

HUD has published interim guidance for homeless service providers, including developing or updating emergency plans, developing prevention and communication strategies, and implementing emergency actions. They also have a webinar panel on infectious disease preparedness for homeless assistance providers and their partners and an Infectious Disease Toolkit for Continuums of Care for people experiencing homelessness, for encampments, and for shelters

The Centers for Disease Control has interim guidance for responding to COVID-19 among people experiencing unsheltered homelessness and for homeless service providers.  

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness also has a webpage of COVID-19 resources.

Guidance and News for Developers and Investors

The Department of City Planning announced that they are suspending New York City’s land use decision making processes.

Fannie Mae posted a communication on COVID-19 to MBS and Credit Risk Transfer investors. For MBS, they said, “For loans that are granted payment forbearance, Fannie Mae will continue to advance principal and interest payments on the MBS for at least 120 days and may choose to advance for up to two years.”

Advocacy

The New York Housing Conference and 20 other housing and homelessness nonprofits sent a letter to the NY Congressional delegation calling for housing assistance in the third coronavirus response bill, including $5 billion in McKinney-Vento funding ESG, direct payment program, rental assistance, moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, rent freeze and mortgage deferments, and funding for public housing and nonprofits. Read the letter here.  

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a list of recommendations in response to the coronavirus, detailing urgent needs for homeless people, low-income renters, and long term solutions.

The Action Campaign released a set of recommendations that would provide timing relief and prevent projects from losing Low Income Housing Tax Credits due to COVID-19’s impact.

General COVID-19 Resources

HUD has a web page with COVID-19 information and resources for many different groups of stakeholders. The National Housing Conference has a website with resources, with general information and specific information on cleaning protocols, for homeless individuals and providers, for property managers and for renters and homeowners. The National Low Income Housing Coalition will have weekly webinars and also has a roundup of updates. Novogradac has a long list of resources including a roundup of guidance and announcements. 

If you have information to share with the affordable housing community, please email Brendan Cheney, NYHC Director of Communications & NYC Affairs to distribute.