Amendment to LTRAP Administrative Plan
Effective April 10, 2020
In accordance with HUD Notice PIH 2020-05, Lakewood Township Residential Assistance Program, (LTRAP) has adopted the following waivers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Annual Plan:
LTRAP’s Annual Plan which was previously due on October 15, 2020 is now due on Jan 16, 2021. Therefore, the Annual Plan which is usually prepared and available for review in the summer will be prepared in the fall and will be submitted by the new deadline date.
- Annual and Interim Income Verification:
HUD established an income hierarchy in verifying income and family composition. Due to difficulties in obtaining third-party verification during the current pandemic, when necessary, LTRAP will accept alternative means of family and income verification, such as self-certifications by the family. Participants should be very careful and accurate when preparing these self-certifications, since further verification will be done when possible. If any errors or misrepresentation are noted at a future date, the rent portions will be recalculated retroactively.
Additionally, presently, no in person recertifications are being conducted. LTRAP offices are closed to the public until further notice. All documents can be mailed to 600 W. Kennedy Blvd. Lakewood, NJ 08701, faxed to 732-367-6645 or 732-367-8923, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or deposited in the curbside outdoor mailbox.
- Family Self Sufficiency Program- Extension:
The Family Self Sufficiency Program Contract ends after a five year period.
Section 984.303(d) authorizes a PHA to extend a family’s contract of participation for a period not to exceed two years upon a finding of good cause. LTRAP will approve an extension for any family requesting an extension for any cause related to COVID-19.
- HQS Inspections:
LTRAP performs HQS Inspections biannually for all participating households.
LTRAP also must conduct an HQS Inspection prior to entering into a new contract with a participating landlord for a new participant or a current participant moving to a new unit. Due to the dangers involved in visiting homes during the current pandemic, LTRAP has suspended all HQS inspections. The landlord will be required to provide a self-certification that the unit is in safe and in sanitary condition. For a new unit to the program, the landlord will also have to certify the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms in the unit, as well as the square footage of the unit. LTRAP will conduct the HQS inspection when health conditions allow, for both new and recertifying tenants, but no later than 10/31/2000, and the landlord will be responsible to repair any violations at that time. Additionally, if any of the information provided was inaccurate, changes will be applied retroactively to the rental amounts.
Furthermore, for participants joining the Homeownership Program, LTRAP will waive the previously required HQS Inspection and will rely on the private Home Inspection obtained by the participant. LTRAP also reserves the right to follow up with an inspection when feasible.
- Voucher Briefings:
LTRAP always conducted an oral briefing to the applicant when issuing a new Housing Choice Voucher. Since no in person interviews are currently being conducted, these briefings will be held over the telephone.
- Term of Voucher:
New vouchers currently have a maximum term of 120 days for leasing a unit. All outstanding vouchers will be extended until July 31, 2020.
- Absence from Unit:
HUD regulations do not allow continued assistance for a family absent from a unit for more than 180 days. At LTRAP discretion, the 180 day maximum will be extended due to exterminating circumstances arising from the current pandemic, such as hospitalization, or care for ill family members. No payments will be made under this exclusion after December 31, 2020.
- Automatic Termination of HAP Contract:
HUD regulations require automatic termination of the HAP contract when the HAP portion is reduced to zero for six months (180 days). LTRAP will extend this period of time upon written request of the family due to the difficult economic situation. This extension will only be valid until Dec 31, 2020.
- Homeownership Counseling:
HUD regulations required any household joining the Homeownership Program to attend and complete a homeownership counseling class. This requirement is waived until July 31, 2020.