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COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Policy

Approved by Tribal Council 02-06-2021

Section I. Purpose

  1. This Emergency Rental Assistance Program Policy (“Policy”) shall govern the SILETZ TRIBAL HOUSING DEPARTMENT (“STHD”) COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERA Program”) and the expenditure and management of the Emergency Rental Assistance Funds (“ERA Program Funds”) received from the U.S. Treasury pursuant to Section 501 of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No. 116-260 (Dec. 27, 2020) (“Section 501”).
  2. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the public health emergency for COVID-19 on January 31, 2020. The eligible period for relief under the Paycheck Protection Program for covered wages began February 15, 2020, and the eligible period for relief through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) began March 1, 2020. An emergency declaration was issued on March 13, 2020, pursuant to section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5191(b).
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic poses an immediate and imminent threat to the health, safety, and well-being of the Tribe. The purpose of the ERA Program is to provide emergency rental assistance for the payment of rents and utilities, and arrearages for the same, for low-income Tribal members and other Indian families who have disproportionately suffered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERA Program is designed to assist Tribal and other Indian households whose income is at or below 80% of the Median Income who face potential eviction or homelessness because they are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Notwithstanding any provision set forth in any other STHD Policy, receipt of assistance from the ERA Program established under this Policy shall not make the Recipient or Recipient family ineligible for assistance under any of the regular STHD policies.
  5. Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to invalidate any otherwise legitimate grounds for eviction.
  6. Assistance to be provided under the ERA Program is subject to availability of funds. No applicant or household determined to be eligible is entitled to or has a property right to receive funding under the ERA Program.
  7. This Policy and the administration of the ERA Program will be subject to change if and when additional guidance is provided.

Section II. Definitions

General: The following definitions shall apply to this ERA Program Policy.

  1. Applicant” means any person or family who applies for assistance pursuant to these Policies and Procedures.
  2. Area Median Income” means, with respect to a household, the median income for the area in which the household is located, as determined by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).
  3. COVID-19” refers to the viral disease caused by the novel coronavirus known as SARSCoV-2.
  4. Eligible Household” means a household that meets the eligibility requires provided for in Section IV.
  5. Financial Assistance” means payments provided through the ERA Program Funds for Rent Arrears, Utility and Home Energy Costs Arrears, Current and Prospective Rent, and Current and Prospective Utility Costs.
    1. Rent” is the monthly amount charged by a Landlord for possession and occupancy of a dwelling unit. If Utility Costs are included in the monthly payment to the Landlord, they are deemed to be Rent.
    2.  “Rent Arrears” mean rental payments in arrears.
    3. Prospective Rent” means rental payments expected to be owed.
    4. Current Rent” means the rental payment for the current month that is due and owing but not yet in arrears.
    5. Utility Costs” means utility and home energy costs related to the occupancy of rental property (e.g. electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal, and energy costs (such as fuel oil)) that are separately-stated charges. Utility Costs do not include telecommunication services (e.g. telephone, cable, and internet services).
    6. Utility Costs Arrears” means Utility Cost payments in arrears.
    7. Prospective Utility Costs” means Utility Cost payments expected to be owed.
    8. Current Utility Costs” means Utility Costs that are currently due and owing but not yet in arrears.
    9. Rental Deposits” means a deposit required by a Landlord as a condition of obtaining possession and occupancy of a rented dwelling unit. To be covered by this Emergency Rental Assistance Program, such deposits must be reasonable and may not exceed an amount equivalent to two (2) months rental payments for the premises being rented.
  6. Housing Stability Services” means case management and other services related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as defined by the Secretary, intended to help keep Eligible Households stably housed.
  7. Income” means either a household’s annual income or sufficient confirmation of the household’s monthly income at the time of application by STHD.
  8. Indian Tribe” means a tribe that is a federally recognized tribe or a “State recognized tribe” as those terms are defined in NAHASDSA, 25 U.S.C. 4103(13).
  9. Landlord” means any individual person, family, or entity who owns or manages a dwelling unit and rents or leases that dwelling unit to an Eligible Household.
  10. NAHASDA” means the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996.
  11. Secretary” means the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, except where otherwise indicated.
  12. Tribal Member” means an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
  13. Tribe” means the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
  14. STHD” means the Siletz Tribal Housing Department.

Section III. Emergency Program Overview

  1. STHD shall only use the ERA Program Funds to provide Financial Assistance and Housing
    Stability Services to Eligible Households in accordance with the terms of this Policy.

     

    1. Application. To participate in the ERA Program, an Applicant must first submit a complete, written Application to STHD. This Application must include all information required by STHD, as described below in Section V.
    2. Participation. If an Applicant is approved for participation in the ERA Program, they must then submit information and supporting documentation each month for the Rents and Utility Costs for which they seek Financial Assistance.
  2. Financial Assistance
    1. At least 90 percent of the ERA Program Funds received by the STHD must be used to provide Financial Assistance to Eligible Households as defined herein.
    2. STHD may not provide ERA Program assistance to homeowners to cover their mortgage payment, utilities, or energy costs.
    3. STHD as the Landlord. STHD may provide assistance to Eligible Households for which STHD is the Landlord, provided that STHD complies with the all provisions of the Section 501 statute and relevant Treasury guidance and that no preferences beyond those outlined in the Section 501 statute are given to Eligible Households that reside in STHD’s own properties.
    4. Arrears Payments: If any Eligible Household has any Rent Arrears or Utility Costs Arrears, STHD must first provide Financial Assistance under this ERA Program to pay all or a portion of those arrears before providing payments for any Current or Prospective Rent or Current or Prospective Utility Costs payments, if and only to the extent that those arrears were the result of financial distress caused by COVID-19.
      1. Arrears Cut-Off. STHD may only use ERA Program Funds to pay Rent Arrears and Utility Costs Arrears for rent and utility and home energy costs incurred on or after March 13, 20201 for which Eligible Households are in arrears.
      2. Rent Arrears and Utility Costs Arrears means money that is overdue after missing one or more required payments. Arrears includes interest charges and penalties accrued from the date on which the first missed payment was due. Arrears does not include interest charges or penalties accrued for overdue rent or utility and home energy costs incurred before March 13, 2020.
      3. An Eligible Household that does not have any arrears payments may still participate in the ERA Program.
    5. Term. STHD shall provide Financial Assistance for a period not to exceed twelve (12) months except that STHD may provide Financial Assistance for an additional three (3) months only if necessary to ensure housing stability for an Eligible Household, subject to the availability of funds.
    6. Prospective Rent Payments—Limitation on Assistance
      1. Pursuant to Section 501(c)(2)(B) and subject to the exception in subparagraph (b), the STHD shall not provide an Eligible Household with Financial Assistance for Prospective Rent payments for more than three (3) months based on any Application by or on behalf of the household.
      2. Exception: For any Eligible Household described in subparagraph (a), such Eligible Household may receive Financial Assistance for Prospective Rent payments for additional months (up to three months) at the expiration of the three month period described in subparagraph (a):
        1. Subject to the availability of STHD’s remaining ERA Program Funds; and
        2. Based on a subsequent application submitted by the Recipient for additional Prospective Rent, provided that the total months of Financial Assistance provided to the Eligible Household do not exceed the total months of assistance allowed.
    7. Distribution of Financial Assistance
      1. For all Financial Assistance for Rent Arrears, Utility Costs Arrears, Current or Prospective Rent, Current or Prospective Utility Costs, or Rental Deposits provided to an Eligible Household, STHD will make payments to the Landlord or utility provider on behalf of the Eligible Household.
      2. For any payments made by STHD to a Landlord or utility provider on behalf of an Eligible Household, STHD shall provide documentation of such payments to such household.
    8. Duplication of Assistance. An Eligible Household that occupies a federally-subsidized residential property may receive ERA Program assistance, provided that ERA Program Funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance. To the extent feasible, STHD will ensure that any Financial Assistance provided to an Eligible Household pursuant to the ERA Program Funds is not duplicative of any other Federally funded rental assistance provided to such household.
      1. If an Eligible Household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the Eligible Household’s rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the Eligible Household may not receive ERA Program assistance to cover the portion of the rental payment that has been subsidized but only that portion that the Eligible Household is required to pay out of its own funds.
      2. If an Eligible Household receives rental assistance other than through the ERA Program, the ERA Program assistance may only be used to pay for costs, such as the tenant-paid portion of Rent and Utility costs, that are not paid for by the other rental assistance. Pursuant to Section 501(k)(3)(B) of Subdivision N of the Act and 2 CFR 200.403, when providing ERA Program assistance, STHD must review the Eligible Household’s income and sources of assistance to confirm that the ERA Program assistance does not duplicate any other assistance, including federal, state, and local assistance provided for the same costs.
    9. Treatment of Assistance. Assistance provided to an Eligible Household from the ERA Program Funds will not be regarded as Income for purposes of determining the eligibility of the Eligible Household or any member of the Eligible Household for benefits or assistance, under any Federal program, the STHD program, or any Tribal program financed in whole or in part with Federal funds.
  3. Housing Stability Services
    1. Not more than 10 percent of the ERA Program Funds received by STHD pursuant to Section 501 may be used to provide Eligible Households with Housing Stability Services intended to help keep Eligible Households stably housed.

Section IV. Eligibility

  1. Eligibility Requirements. In order to be eligible to apply for the ERA Program, at the time the Applicant applies to the Program the Applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    1. The Applicant is part of a household of one (1) or more individuals who are occupying as tenants and obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling and with respect to which STHD determines—
      1. That one (1) or more individuals within the house has:
        1. Qualified for unemployment benefits, or
        2. Experienced a reduction in household Income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due,
          directly to the COVID-19 pandemic, to which the applicant shall attest in writing;
      2. That one (1) or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include:
        1. A past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice;
        2. Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions; or
        3. Any other evidence of such risk, as determined by STHD; and
      3. The household has a household Income that is not more than 80 percent of the Area Median Income for the household.
      4. There are no geographic limitations on where an Applicant household is located to be eligible for Financial Assistance under the ERA Program.
  2. Income Determination. In determining the Income of a household for purposes of determining such household’s eligibility for assistance from the ERA Program Funds, STHD will consider either the household’s total annual Income or monthly Income:
    1. Annual Income. STHD will consider the household’s total annual income for calendar year 2020.
      1. Annual Income. STHD may choose between using the definition of “annual income” as provided by HUD in 24 CFR 5.609 or using adjusted gross income as defined for purposes of reporting under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual Federal annual income tax purposes.
    2. Monthly Income. STHD may determine Income based on sufficient confirmation of the household’s monthly income at the time of Application for such assistance.
      1. In the case of Income determined based on monthly income under the preceding subparagraph (2), STHD shall be required to redetermine the eligibility of a household’s Income after each such period of three (3) months for which the household receives assistance from the ERA Program Funds.

Section V. Applications for ERA Program

  1. Participation Applications: To participate in the ERA Program, an Applicant must first submit a complete, written Application on the forms provided by STHD. Applications for the ERA Program must be submitted to the STHD by mailing or dropping off the Applications to the following address:

    P.O. Box 549, Siletz, OR 97365

    555 Tolowa Court, Siletz, OR 97380

    Or submitting such Applications by email to: covam@ctsi.nsn.us, jeanettea@ctsi.nsn.us

    The Application must include the following information and supporting documentation:

    1. Applicant and household Information. Full name and date of birth of the applicant and of all members of Applicant’s household; Applicant’s address and contact information.
    2. Financial Hardship. Information and supporting documentation demonstrating that one (1) or more individuals within the household has:
      1. Qualified for unemployment benefits, or
      2. Experienced a reduction in household Income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    3. Housing Instability. Information and supporting documentation demonstrating that the household faces a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include:
      1. A past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice;
      2. Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions; or
      3. Any other evidence of such risk, as determined by STHD
    4. Income. Information and supporting documentation demonstrating the Applicant has a household Income that is not more than 80 percent of the Area Median Income for the household.
    5. Release of Information.
    6. Such other information as may be specifically requested by the STHD to document Income, the need for the services being applied for, and the connection of that need for services to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Notification of Change of Eligibility. Applicants are required to notify STHD in writing immediately whenever any determining factor of eligibility changes. This includes:
    1. No longer qualifying for unemployment benefits,
    2. No longer experiencing a reduction in household income or other financial hardship,
    3. No longer facing a risk of homelessness or housing instability, or
    4. Having an income that is above 80 percent of the Area Median Income for the household.
  3. Falsification. If it is discovered that an Applicant has falsified his or her Application, or otherwise abused the ERA Program, or if a Recipient fails to notify STHD of changes to the household’s eligibility, the household will be subject to penalties. Penalties will include ineligibility for continued participation in the ERA Program and repayment of the value of any benefit for which they were not eligible to receive. STHD shall have the right to seek such repayment through garnishment of the Tribal Member’s per capita distribution or wages, if any.
  4. Application Review
    1. The STHD staff member receiving the Application shall sign and date the Application when it is received at the STHD offices.
    2. Preferences and Priorities. Applications will be reviewed and processed as they are received. However, in anticipation of STHD receiving a substantial number of applications within a short period of time, with a finite amount of funding available, STHD shall review and process Applications under this Policy according to the following order of preferences.

      Eligible Households must have at least one family member (regardless of whether that member is an adult or head of household) who is a Tribal Member.

      In reviewing Applications, STHD will prioritize consideration of the Applications of an Eligible Household when one or more individuals within the household are unemployed as of the date of the Application for assistance and have not been employed for the 90-day period preceding such date.

      Approval of Application. STHD will notify Applicants in writing, within fourteen (14) days of STHD’s receipt of the Application, of STHD’s decision of whether the Applicant has been approved.

    3. Denial of Application. If upon initial review, STHD determines that the Applicant is not eligible or the request is outside of this Policy, or there are no longer any ERA Program Funds available, STHD will notify the Applicant in writing of this determination, the applicable policies which support the determination, and the process of appeal.
      1. Process of Appeal. Any Applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision of STHD concerning eligibility of assistance, the level of benefit approved, or the type of services available, can appeal that decision under the regular STHD appeal procedures for denial of services.
      2. No Appeal. If the reason for the denial of the Application is that there are no longer any ERA Program Funds remaining, such denial is not subject to appeal.

Section VII. ERA Program Participation

  1. Submission of Documentation
    1. Once an Applicant is approved for participation in the ERA Program, they must submit information and documentation on the Rent Arrears, Utility Costs Arrears, Prospective Rent, and Prospective Utility Costs for which they are seeking Assistance.
  2. Prospective Payments
    1. If a Recipient who has already received three (3) months of Prospective Rent or Prospective Utility Costs seeks assistance for additional Prospective Rent or Prospective Utility Costs, the Recipient must submit a new application.

Section VII. ERA Program Management

  1. Maintenance of and Access to Records.
    1. STHD must create and maintain a set of files for this ERA Program separate from all other STHD programs. Any Recipient who also participates in another STHD program must have a separate file maintained specifically for the ERA Program.
    2. STHD may copy relevant documents from a Recipient’s existing file under a separate STHD program so that the Recipient does not need submit the same documentation twice, provided that the copied documentation for the ERA Program is kept separately with all other ERA Program files.
    3. STHD shall maintain records and financial documents sufficient to support compliance with Section 501(c) regarding the eligible uses of funds.
    4. The U.S. Treasury Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office, or their authorized representatives, shall have the right of access to records (electronic and otherwise) of STHD in order to conduct audits or other investigations.
    5. STHD shall maintain records for a period of five (5) years after all funds have been expended or returned to the Treasury.
  2. Report Requirements
    1. STHD shall maintain and submit quarterly records detailing such information as is required by the Secretary. STHD should be prepared to collect and retain records on the following:
      1. Number of applications received;
      2. Address of the rental unit of each Recipient;
      3. Name, address, social security number, tax identification number or DUNS number, as applicable, for the Landlord and utility provider;
      4. Amount and percentage of monthly rent covered by ERA assistance;
      5. Amount and percentage of separately-stated utility and home energy costs covered by ERA assistance;
      6. Total amount of each type of assistance (i.e., rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs, utilities and home energy costs arrears) provided to each household, Amount of outstanding rental arrears for each household;
      7. Number of months of rental payments and number of months of utility or home energy cost; and
      8. Household income and number of individuals in the household.
    2. Privacy Requirements. STHD shall establish data privacy and security requirements for the information required by the Secretary for use of ERA Program Funds, in accordance with Section 501(g)(4). The data privacy and security requirements must—
      1. Include appropriate measures to ensure that the privacy of the individuals and households is protected;
      2. Provide that the information, including any personally identifiable information, is collected and used only for the purpose of submitting reports in compliance with this Policy; and
      3. Provide confidentiality protections for data collected about any individuals who are survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  3. Compliance with Applicable Laws and Regulations. In carrying out housing activities funded by the ERA Program Funds, STHD will comply with the following laws and regulations.
    1. Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 C.F.R. Part 200, other than such provisions as the Secretary may determine are inapplicable to the ERA Program Funds and subject to such exceptions as may be otherwise provided by the Secretary. Subpart F – Audit Requirements of the Uniform Guidance, implementing the Single Audit Act, shall apply to the ERA Program Funds.
    2. Universal Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM), 2 C.F.R. Part 25 and pursuant to which the award term set forth in Appendix A to 2 C.F.R. Part 25 is hereby incorporated by reference.
    3. Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information, 2 C.F.R. Part 170, pursuant to which the award term set forth in Appendix A to 2 C.F.R. Part 170 is hereby incorporated by reference.
    4. OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement), 2 C.F.R. Part 180 (including the requirement to include a term or condition in all lower tier covered transactions (contracts and subcontracts described in 2 C.F.R. Part 180, subpart B) that the award is subject to 2 C.F.R. Part 180 and the Treasury’s implementing regulation at 31 C.F.R. Part 19.
    5. Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters, pursuant to which the award term set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200, Appendix XII to Part 200 is hereby incorporated by reference.
    6. Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace, 31 C.F.R. Part 20.
    7. New Restrictions on Lobbying, 31 C.F.R. Part 21.
    8. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability, with the understanding, codified in regulation at 24 CFR 1000.12(d), that Tribes and TDHEs carrying out housing activities satisfy these requirements by their compliance with the Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 1301-1304 (ICRA), and with the further understanding that, as codified in 25 U.S.C. §§4114(b) and 4131(b), Tribes and TDHEs are permitted to use Indian and Tribal-specific preference in providing housing services, as well as in contracting and hiring.
    9. The non-discrimination requirements as applied under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Department of Housing and Urban Development implementing regulations at 24 CFR part 8.
    10. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 6101 et seq.) and the Treasury’s implementing regulations at 31 C.F.R. Part 23, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
  4. Publications. Any publications produced with the ERA Program Funds must display the following language: “This project [is being] [was] supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number [enter project FAIN] awarded to [name of Recipient] by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

Section VII. Use and Management of Funds

  1. Use of funds. STHD understands and agrees that the ERA Program Funds may only be used for the purposes set forth in Section 501.
  2. Financial Management of ERA Program Funds
    1. The ERA Program Funds received by STHD must be held and maintained in a bank account depository separate from all other STHD funds.
    2. The depository in which the ERA Program Funds are deposited must be a financial institution that is approved by Treasury and that is sufficiently insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (“NCUSIF”).
    3. The ERA Program Funds should be accounted for separately from other STHD funds.
    4. Collateralization of ERA Program Funds. All deposits of ERA Program Funds that are in excess of the FDIC insured amount must be continuously and fully secured. This may be accomplished by the pledging or setting aside of collateral of identifiable U.S. Government securities. Such securities shall be owned by the depository, and the manner of collateralization shall provide STHD with a continuing perfected security interest for the full term of the deposit in the collateral in accordance with applicable laws and Federal regulations. Such collateral shall, at all times, have a market value at least equal to the amount of the deposits so secured.
  3. Administrative Costs
    1. Not more than ten (10) percent of the amount of the ERA Program Funds that STHD receives may be used for administrative costs attributable to providing Housing Stability Services as defined above.
    2. The ERA Program Funds may not be used for any administrative costs other than to the extent allowed under preceding subparagraph (C)(1) of this Section.
    3. Administrative expenses of STHD may be treated as direct costs, but STHD may not cover indirect costs using the ERA Program Funds, and STHD may not apply its negotiated indirect cost rate to ERA Program Funds.
    4. The sum of the amount of the ERA Program Funds expended on Housing Stability Services described in Section 501(c)(3) and the amount of the ERA Program Funds expended on administrative expenses described in Section 501(c)(5) may not exceed 10 percent of the total award.
  4. Expenditure of ERA Program Funds
    1. Pursuant to Section 501(d), at least 65% of the total amount of ERA Program Funds received by STHD must be expended by September 30, 2021. If STHD does not expend at least 65% of the ERA Program Funds by September 30, 2021, STHD will be required to repay to the Treasury the entire amount not expended (“Excess ERA Program Funds”) by that date.
    2. Pursuant to Section 501(e), STHD must expend all ERA Program Funds byDecember 31, 2021, unless, in the case of a reallocation made by the Secretary pursuant to Section 501(d), STHD requests and receives from the Secretary an extension of up to 90 days. STHD will be required to repay to the Treasury any amounts not expended by December 31, 2021, except in the case of an extension.
      1. Any such requests for extension must be provided in the form and must include such information as Treasury may require.
    3. Amounts not expended by STHD in accordance with Section 501 must be repaid to Treasury in the manner specified by Treasury.
  5. Cost Sharing. Cost sharing or matching funds are not required to be provided by STHD.