The Right to Organize

1997 March for Good Housing in Dover

from The Housing Journal, Winter 2001

The Right to Organize in Public and Multifamily Housing
 
Organizing in Multifamily Housing from the National Tenants’ Voice, Fall 2000

Tenants Win Enforceable "Right to Organize" Regulations from HUD

By Sharon Sherman

When NAHT first began eight years ago, tenants had the right to organize, but it was buried in HUD’s regulations and was poorly defined.

NAHT’s first priority then was a Tenants’ Rights Brochure and amendments to HUD’s Management Agent Handbook, which more clearly outlined tenants right to organize. Once the Tenants’ Rights book was made available to tenants and more unorganized tenants became organized, difficulties increased. Tenants who were empowering themselves as well as tenant organizers began facing incredible

harassment including being sent to jail for standing up for their rights. In response, NAHT proposed the HUD Tenants Bill of Rights to Organize and demanded that HUD take steps to define and enforce tenants rights to meet, leaflet and door knock their neighbors, and invite in outside help.

As the harassment continued, NAHT members as well as HUD officials soon recognized that tenants’ right to organize needed to be set down and expanded in a new regulation. In August 199, a ne regulation was proposed by HUD. The proposed regulation included many of the points NAHT members wanted, but there were still many areas of the regulation which needed to be changed. The NAHT membership responded by sending 104 comments to HUD addressing these changes.

The final regulation was published on June 7, 2000, just in time for the NAHT conference. Key parts of the regulation are presented here because a summary would not do justice to the many rights contained in the regulation. It is not perfect, but it is a tremendous step forward and should prove a vital tool in organizing HUD tenants throughout the country. Now the challenge will be to ensure that tenants know about these rights and that HUD enforces them.

Sharon Sherman is an activist with the Greater Syracuse Tenant Network and a member of NAHT’s Right to Organize Task Force.

Part 245-Tenant Participation in Multi-Family Housing Projects

Federal Register,24 CFR Part 245

Subpart B-Tenant Organizations

Sec. 245.100 Right to tenants to organize.

The tenants of a multifamily housing project covered under Sec. 245.10 have the right to establish and operate a tenant organization for the purpose of addressing issues related to their living environment, which includes the terms and conditions of their tenancy as well as activities related to housing and community development.

Sec. 245.105 Recognition of tenant organizations.

Owners of multifamily housing projects covered under Sec. 245.10, and their agents, must: (a) Recognize legitimate tenant organizations; and (b) Give reasonable consideration to concerns raised by legitimate tenant organizations.

Sec. 245.110 Legitimate tenant organizations.

A tenant organization is legitimate if it has been established by the tenants of a multifamily housing project covered under Sec. 245.10 for the purpose described in Sec. 245.100, and meets regularly, operates democratically, is representative of all residents in the development, and is completely independent of owners, management, and their representatives.

Sec. 245.115 Protected activities.

(a) Owners of multifamily housing projects covered under Sec. 245.10, and their agents, must allow tenants and tenant organizers to conduct the following activities related to the establishment or operation of a tenant organization:

(1) Distributing leaflets in lobby areas;

(2) Placing leaftlets at or under tenants’ doors;

(3) Distributing leaflets in common areas;

(4) Initiating contact with tenants;

(5) Conducting door-to-door surveys of tenants to ascertain interest in establishing a tenant organization and to offer information about
tenant organizations;

(6) Posting information on bulletin boards;

(7) Assisting tenants to participate in tenant organization activities;

(8) Convening regularly scheduled tenant organization meetings in a space on site and accessible to tenants, in a manner that is fully independent of management representatives. In order to preserve the independence of tenant organizations, management representatives may not attend such meetings unless invited by the tenant organization to specific meetings to discuss a specific issue or issues; and (9) Formulating responses to owner’s requests for: (I) Rent increases; (ii) Partial payment of claims; (iii) The conversion from project-based paid utilities to tenant-paid utilities; (iv) A reduction in tenant utility allowances; (v) Converting residential units to non-residential use; cooperative housing , or condominiums; (vi) Major capital additions; and (vii) Prepayment of loans.

(b) In addition to the activities listed in paragraph (a) of this section, owners of multifamily housing projects covered under Sec. 245.10 and their agents, must allow tenants and tenant organizers to conduct other reasonable activities related to the establishment or operation of a tenant organization.

( c ) Owners of multifamily housing projects and their agents shall not require tenants and tenant organizers to obtain prior permission before engaging in the activities permitted under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

Sec. 245.120 Meeting space.

(a) Owners of multifamily housing projects covered under Sec. 245.10, and their agents, must reasonably make available the use of any community room or other available space appropriate for meetings that is part of the multifamily housing project when requested by: (1) Tenants or a tenant organization and used for activities related the operation of the tenant organization; or (2) Tenants seeking to establish a tenant organization or collectively address issues related to their living environment.

(b) Tenant and tenant organization meetings must be accessible to persons with disabilities, unless this is impractical for reasons beyond the organization’s control. If the complex has an accessible common area or areas, it will not be impractical to make organizational meetings accessible to persons with disabilities.

( c) Fees. An owner of a multifamily housing project covered under Sec. 245.10 may charge a reasonable, customary and usual fee, approved by the Secretary as may normally be imposed for the use of such facilities in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Secretary, for the use of meeting space. An owner may waive this fee.

Sec. 245.125 Tenant organizers.

(a) A tenant organizer is a tenant or non-tenant who assists tenants in establishing and operating a tenant organization, and who is not an employee or representative of current or prospective owners, managers, or their agents.

(b) Owners of multifamily housing projects covered under Sec. 245.10, and their agents, must allow tenant organizers to assist tenants in establishing and operating tenant organizations.

( c ) Non-tenant organizations.

1. If a multifamily housing project covered under Sec. 245.10 has a consistently enforced, written policy against canvassing, then a non-tenant tenant organizer must be accompanied by a tenant while on the property of the multifamily housing project, except in the case of recipients of HUD Outreach and Assistance Training Grants ("OTAG") or other direct HUD grants designed to enable recipients to provide education and outreach to tenants concerning HUD’s mark-to-market program (see 24 CFR parts 401 and 402), who are conducting eligible activities as defined in the applicable Notice of Funding Availability for the grant or other effective grant document.

2. If a multifamily housing project covered under Sec. 245.10 has a written policy favoring canvassing, any non-tenant tenant organizer must be afforded the same privileges and rights of access as other uninvited outside parties in the normal course of operations. If the project does not have a consistently enforced, written policy against canvassing, the project shall be treated as if it has a policy favoring canvassing.

Sec. 245.130 Tenants’ rights not to be re-canvassed. A tenant has the right not to be re-canvassed against his or her wishes regarding participation in a tenant organization.

Sec. 245.135 Enforcement.

(a) Owners of housing identified in Sec. 245.10, and their agents, as well as any principals thereof (as defined in 24 CFR 24.105), who violate any provision of this subpart so as to interfere with the organizational and participatory rights of tenants, may be liable for sanctions under 24 CFR part 24. Such sanctions may include:

(1) Debarment. A person who is debarred is prohibited from future participation in Federal programs for a period of time. The specific rules and regulations relating to debarment are found in 24 CFR part 24, subpart C.

(2) Suspension. Suspension is a temporary action with the same effect as debarment, to be taken when there is adequate evidence that a cause for debarment may exist and immediate action is needed to protect the public interest. The specific rules and regulations relating to suspension are found at 24 CFR part 24, subpart D.

(3) Limited Denial of Participation. An LDP generally excludes a person from future participation in the Federal program under which the cause arose. The duration of an LDP is generally up to 12 months. The specific rules and regulations relating to LDPs are found at 24 CFR subpart G.

(b) These sanctions may also apply to affiliates (as defined in 24 CFR part 24) of these persons or entities.

( c) The procedures in 24 CFR part 24 shall apply to actions under this subpart. Dated: June 1, 2000.

 

Organizing in Public Housing: HUD’s Rule 24 CFR Part 964

from "Organizing in Public Housing," HOUSING MATTERS, July 2000

Many residents have to remind their housing authority that HUD’s Rule 964 gives residents the right to participate in the operation of public housing. This includes the right to participate in: improvements and modernizing; new programs and services; new plans, policies, and procedures; and all aspects of public housing operation.

One critical right in 964 is the right to organize and elect a resident council to advocate on behalf of residents (Rule 964.11). Forming a resident council-or strengthening an existing council-gives residents a stronger voice with the housing authority and other government agencies and officials, who are a lot more likely to listen-and respond-to the concerns of a well-organized, well-informed group than to those of a single resident or informal group. Sometimes, to win more clout, resident councils from individual developments join together to form citywide or town wide resident councils (Rule 964.105).

A Duly Elected Council

If you want the public housing authority to recognize your resident council as a duly elected organization that represents people living in your development, 964 says you have to do two things (Rule 964.115): (1) Adopt by-laws or other written procedures, and (2) hold a democratic election of officers (president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer). But keep in mind: by-laws and written rules alone do not keep leaders accountable or inspire membership participation. As one organizer says: "People, not paper, keep organizations open and action-oriented." (Roots to Power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing, by Lee Staples)

Overcoming Residents’ Fears

One of the hardest things about organizing in many housing developments is overcoming residents’ fears that management will retaliate by evicting them or increasing their rent if they are involved in any organizing effort.

One way to overcome these fears is to inform residents that organizing and being involved in a resident organization is not grounds for eviction. Invite a legal aid attorney familiar with residents’ rights to one of your meetings to answer questions and speak with residents about their concerns. Also, the more residents who are involved, the less likely it is that the housing authority will be able to target or single out a leader. Leaders need the protection and active participation of fellow residents to be effective.

Resources

At some point, your resident council will need resources to operate, to hold meetings, to buy equipment, and to educate and organize. Residents can’t organize without resources. Apply to your public housing authority for money. Housing authorities have money in their budges for "resident services." In addition, under new proposed rules that HUD is issuing, housing authorities will have to fund resident organizations out of their operating expenses. Resident councils can also apply directly to HUD for funds. And under the current 964, housing authorities should provide developments with 250 apartments or more which have duly elected resident councils with free office and meeting space, if the resident council makes this request (Rule 964.18).

 

TITLE 24, PART 964 OF THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS

CONTENTS
Subpart A–General Provisions
Subpart B–Tenant Participation
Subpart E–Resident Board Members
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 24, Volume 4]
[Revised as of April 1, 2002]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office
[CITE: 24CFR964.1]
PART 964--

Tenant Participation and Tenant Opportunities in Public Housing

Subpart A–General Provisions

§ 964.1 Purpose.
The purpose of this part is to recognize the importance of resident involvement in creating a positive living environment and in actively participating in the overall mission of public housing.

§ 964.3 Applicability and scope.

(a) The policies and procedures contained in this part apply to any PHA that has a Public Housing Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) with HUD.  This part, except for subpart E, does not apply to PHAs with housing assistance payments contracts with HUD under section of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937.

(b) Subpart B of this part contains HUD policies, procedures, and requirements for the participation of residents in public housing operations. These policies, procedures, and requirements apply to all residents participating under this part.

(e) Subpart E of this part implements section 2(b) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437), which provides for resident membership on the board of directors or similar governing body of a PHA.  Subpart E applies to any public housing agency that has a public housing annual contributions contract with HUD or administers tenant-based rental under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f).

(f) The term "resident," as used throughout this part, is interchangeable with the term "tenant," to reflect the fact that local resident organizations have differing preferences for the terms.  Terms such as "resident council" and "tenant council" and "resident management" and "tenant management" are interchangeable.  Hereafter, for ease of discussion, the rule will use the terms resident, resident council and resident management corporation, as appropriate.

§ 964.7 Definitions.

Eligible residents for FIC.  A participating resident of a participating HA.  If the HA is combining FIC with the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, the term also means Public Housing FSS and Section 8 families participating in the FSS program.  Although Section 8 FSS families are eligible residents for FIC, they do not qualify for income exclusions that are provided for public housing residents participating in employment and supportive service programs.
HA means the same as Public Housing Agency (PHA).

Management.  All activities for which the HA is responsible to HUD under the ACC, within the definition of "operation" under the Act and the ACC, including the development of resident programs and services.
Management contract.  A written agreement between a resident management corporation and a HA, as provided by subpart C.

Public Housing Agency (PHA) is defined in 24 CFR part 5.

Public housing development (Development).  The term "development" has the same meaning as that provided for "low-income housing project" as that term is defined in Section 3(b)(1) of the Act.
Resident management.  The performance of one or more management activities for one or more projects by a resident management corporation under a management contract with the HA.
Resident management corporation. An entity that proposes to enter into, or enters into, a contract to manage one or more management activities of a HA.

Resident-owned business.  Any business concern which is owned and controlled by public housing residents.  (The term "resident-owned business" includes sole proprietorships.)  For purposes of this part, "owned and controlled" means a business:

(1) Which is at least 51 percent owned by one or more public housing residents;  and

(2) Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more such individuals. Supportive services for FIC.  New or significantly expanded services that are essential to providing families living with children in public housing with better access to educational and employment opportunities to achieve self- sufficiency and independence.

§ 964.11 HUD policy on tenant participation.

HUD promotes resident participation and the active involvement of residents in all aspects of a HA's overall mission and operation.  

Residents have a right to organize and elect a resident council to represent their interests.  As long as proper procedures are followed, the HA shall recognize the duly elected resident council to participate fully through a working relationship with the HA.  HUD encourages HAs and residents to work together to determine the most appropriate ways to foster constructive relationships, particularly through duly elected resident councils.
§ 964.14 HUD policy on partnerships.

HUD promotes partnerships between residents and HAs which are an essential component to building, strengthening and improving public housing.  Strong partnerships are critical for creating positive changes in lifestyles thus improving the quality of life for public housing residents, and the surrounding community.

§ 964.15 HUD policy on resident management.

It is HUD's policy to encourage resident management.  HUD encourages HAs, resident councils and resident management corporations to explore the various functions involved in management to identify appropriate opportunities for contracting with a resident management corporation.  Potential benefits of resident-managed entities include improved quality of life, experiencing the dignity of meaningful work, enabling residents to choose where they want to live, and meaningful participation in the management of the housing development.

§ 964.16 HUD role in activities under this part.

(a) General.  Subject to the requirements of this part and other requirements imposed on HAs by the ACC, statute or regulation, the form and extent of resident participation including resident management are local decisions to be made jointly by resident councils/resident management corporations and their HAs.  HUD will promote tenant participation and tenant opportunities programs, and will provide additional guidance, as necessary and appropriate.  In addition, HUD will endeavor to provide technical assistance in connection with these initiatives.

(b) Monitoring.  HUD shall ensure that the requirements under this part are operating efficiently and effectively.

§ 964.18 HA role in activities under subparts B & C.

(a) HAs with 250 units or more.

(1) A HA shall officially recognize a duly elected resident council as the sole representative of the residents it purports to represent, and support its tenant participation activities.

(2) When requested by residents, a HA shall provide appropriate guidance to residents to assist them in establishing and maintaining a resident council.

(3) A HA may consult with residents, or resident councils (if they exist), to determine the extent to which residents desire to participate in activities involving their community, including the management of specific functions of a public housing development that may be mutually agreeable to the HA and the resident council/resident management corporation.

(4) A HA shall provide the residents or any resident council with current information concerning the HA's policies on tenant participation in management.

(5) If requested, a HA should provide a duly recognized resident council office space and meeting facilities, free of charge, preferably within the development it represents.  If there is no community or rental space available, a request to approve a vacant unit for this non-dwelling use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

(6) If requested, a HA shall negotiate with the duly elected resident council on all uses of community space for meetings, recreation and social services and other resident participation activities pursuant to HUD guidelines.  Such agreements shall be put into a written document to be signed by the HA and the resident council.  If a HA fails to negotiate with a resident council in good faith or, after negotiations, refuses to permit such usage of community space, the resident council may file an informal appeal with HUD, setting out the circumstances and providing copies of relevant materials evidencing the resident council's efforts to negotiate a written agreement.  HUD shall require the HA to respond with a report stating the HA's reasons for rejecting the request or for refusing to negotiate.  HUD shall require the parties (with or without direct HUD participation) to undertake or to resume negotiations on an agreement.  If no resolution is achieved within 90 days from the date HUD required the parties to undertake or resume such negotiations, HUD shall serve notice on both parties that administrative
remedies have been exhausted (except that, pursuant to mutual agreement of the parties, the time for negotiations may be extended by no more than an additional 30 days).

(7) In no event shall HUD or a HA recognize a competing resident council once a duly elected resident council has been established.  Any funding of resident activities and resident input into decisions concerning public housing operations shall be made only through the officially recognized resident council.

(8) The HA shall ensure open communication and frequent meetings between HA management and resident councils and shall encourage the formation of joint HA management-resident groups to work on issues and planning.
(9) The resident council shall hold frequent meetings with the residents to ensure that residents have input, and are aware and actively involved in HA management-resident council decisions and activities.

(10) The HA and resident council shall put in writing in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding the elements of their partnership agreement and it shall be updated at least once every three (3) years.
(11) The HA, in collaboration with the resident councils, shall assume the lead role for assuring maximum opportunities for skills training for public housing residents.  To the extent possible, the training resources should be local to ensure maximum benefit and on-going access.

(b) HAs with fewer than 250 units.

(1) HAs with fewer than 250 units of public housing have the option of participating in programs under this part.

(2) HAs shall not deny residents the opportunity to organize.  If the residents decide to organize and form a resident council, the HA shall comply with the following:

(i) A HA shall officially recognize a duly elected resident council as the sole representative of the residents it purports to represent, and support its tenant participation activities.

(ii) When requested by residents, a HA shall provide appropriate guidance to residents to assist them in establishing and maintaining a resident council.

(iii) A HA shall provide the residents or any resident council with current information concerning the HA's policies on tenant participation in management.

(iv) In no event shall HUD or a HA officially recognize a competing resident council once a duly elected resident council has been established.  

If a duly elected resident council has been formed, any input into changes concerning public housing operations shall be made only through the officially recognized resident council.

§ 964.30 Other Program requirements.

In addition to the requirements set forth in 24 CFR part 5, the following Federal requirements apply to this program:

(a) Affirmative Outreach.

(1) The Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Program requirements of 24 CFR part 200, subpart M and the implementing regulations at 24 CFR part 108; and

(2) The fair housing advertising and poster guidelines at 24 CFR parts 109 and 110.

(b) Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12131) and implementing regulations at 28 CFR part 35.

Subpart B–Tenant Participation

§ 964.100 Role of resident council.

The role of a resident council is to improve the quality of life and resident satisfaction and participate in self-help initiatives to enable residents to create a positive living environment for families living in public housing. Resident councils may actively participate through a working partnership with the HA to advise and assist in all aspects of public housing operations.

§ 964.105 Role of the jurisdiction-wide resident council.

(a) Jurisdiction-wide resident council.  Resident councils may come together to form an organization which can represent the interest of residents residing in units under a HA's jurisdiction.  This can be accomplished by the presidents of duly elected resident councils forming an organization, by resident councils electing a representative to the organization, or through jurisdiction-wide elections.  If duly elected resident councils form such an organization, the HA shall recognize it as the voice of authority-wide residents for input into housing authority policy making.

(b) Function.  The jurisdiction-wide council may advise the Board of Commissioners and executive director in all areas of HA operations, including but not limited to occupancy, general management, maintenance, security, resident training, resident employment, social services and modernization priorities.

(c) Cooperation with other groups.  There shall be regularly scheduled meetings between the HA and the local duly elected resident council, and the jurisdiction-wide resident council to discuss problems, plan activities and review progress.

§ 964.115 Resident council requirements.

A resident council shall consist of persons residing in public housing and must meet each of the following requirements in order to receive official recognition from the HA/HUD, and be eligible to receive funds for resident council activities, and stipends for officers for their related costs for volunteer work in public housing:

(a) It may represent residents residing:

(1) In scattered site buildings;

(2) In areas of contiguous row houses;  or

(3) In one or more contiguous buildings;

(4) In a development;  or

(5) In a combination of these buildings or developments;

(b) It must adopt written procedures such as by-laws, or a constitution which provides for the election of residents to the governing board by the voting membership of the residents residing in public housing, described in paragraph (b) of this section, on a regular basis but at least once every three (3) years.  The written procedures must provide for the recall of the resident board by the voting membership.  These provisions shall allow for a petition or other expression of the voting membership's desire for a recall election, and set the number of percentage of voting membership ("threshold") who must be in agreement in order to hold a recall election.  This threshold shall not be less than 10 percent of the voting membership.

(c) It must have a democratically elected governing board that is elected by the voting membership.  At a minimum, the governing board should consist of five (5) elected board members.
The voting membership must consist of heads of households (any age) and other residents at least 18 years of age or older and whose name appears on a lease for the unit in the public housing that the resident council represents.

§ 964.117 Resident council partnerships.

A resident council may form partnerships with outside organizations, provided that such relationships are complementary to the resident council in its duty to represent the residents, and provided that such outside organizations do not become the governing entity of the resident council.

§ 964.120 Resident management corporation requirements.

A resident management corporation must consist of residents residing in public housing and have each of the following characteristics in order to receive official recognition by the HA and HUD:

(a) It shall be a non-profit organization that is validly incorporated under the laws of the State in which it is located;

(b) It may be established by more than one resident council, so long as each such council:

(1) Approves the establishment of the corporation;  and

(2) Has representation on the Board of Directors of the corporation;

(c) It shall have an elected Board of Directors, and elections must be held at least once every three (3) years;

(d) Its by-laws shall require the Board of Directors to include resident representatives of each resident council involved in establishing the corporation;  include qualifications to run for office, frequency of elections, procedures for recall, and term limits if desired.

(e) Its voting members shall be heads of households (any age) and other residents at least 18 years of age and whose name appears on the lease of a unit in the public housing represented by the resident management corporation;

(f) Where a resident council already exists for the development, or a portion of the development, the resident management corporation shall be approved by the resident council board and a majority of the residents.  If there is no resident council, a majority of the residents of the public housing development it will represent must approve the establishment of such a corporation for the purposes of managing the project;  and

(g) It may serve as both the resident management corporation and the resident council, so long as the corporation meets the requirements of this part for a resident council.

§ 964.125 Eligibility for resident council membership.

(a) Any member of a public housing household whose name is on the lease of a unit in the public housing development and meets the requirements of the by- laws is eligible to be a member of a resident council.  The resident council may establish additional criteria that are non-discriminatory and do not infringe on rights of other residents in the development.  Such criteria must be stated in the by-laws or constitution as appropriate.
(b) The right to vote for resident council board shall be limited to designated heads of households (any age) and other members of the household who are 18 years or older whose name appears on the lease of a unit in the public housing development represented by the resident council.

(c) Any qualified voting member of a resident council who meets the requirements described in the by-laws and is in compliance with the lease may seek office and serve on the resident council governing board.

§ 964.130 Election procedures and standards.

At a minimum, a resident council may use local election boards/commissions.  The resident council shall use an independent third-party to oversee elections and recall procedures.

(a) Resident councils shall adhere to the following minimum standards regarding election procedures:

(1) All procedures must assure fair and frequent elections of resident council members--at least once every three years for each member.

(2) Staggered terms for resident council governing board members and term limits shall be discretionary with the resident council.

(3) Each resident council shall adopt and issue election and recall procedures in their by-laws.

(4) The election procedures shall include qualifications to run for office, frequency of elections, procedures for recall, and term limits if desired.

(5) All voting members of the resident community must be given sufficient notice (at least 30 days) for nomination and election.  The notice should include a description of election procedures, eligibility requirements, and dates of nominations and elections.

(b) If a resident council fails to satisfy HUD minimum standards for fair and frequent elections, or fails to follow its own election procedures as adopted, HUD shall require the HA to withdraw recognition of the resident council and to withhold resident services funds as well as funds provided in conjunction with services rendered for resident participation in public housing.

(c) HAs shall monitor the resident council election process and shall establish a procedure to appeal any adverse decision relating to failure to satisfy HUD minimum standards.  Such appeal shall be submitted to a jointly selected third-party arbitrator at the local level.  If costs are incurred by using a third-party arbitrator, then such costs should be paid from the HAs resident services funds pursuant to § 964.150.

§ 964.135 Resident involvement in HA management operations.

Residents shall be involved and participate in the overall policy development and direction of Public Housing operations.

(a) Resident management corporations (RMCs) may contract with HAs to perform one or more management functions provided the resident entity has received sufficient training and/or has staff with the necessary expertise to perform the management functions and provided the RMC meets bonding and licensing requirements.

(b) Residents shall be actively involved in a HA's decision-making process and give advice on matters such as modernization, security, maintenance, resident screening and selection, and recreation.

(c) While a HA has responsibility for management operations, it shall ensure strong resident participation in all issues and facets of its operations through the duly elected resident councils at public housing developments, and with jurisdiction-wide resident councils.

(d) A HA shall work in partnership with the duly elected resident councils.

(e) HAs, upon request from the duly elected resident council, shall ensure that the duly elected resident council officers as defined in subpart B of this part, and other residents in the development are fully trained and involved in developing and implementing Federal programs including but not limited to Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program (CIAP), Comprehensive Grant Program, Urban Revitalization Demonstration, Drug Elimination, and FIC.

(f) HAs shall involve resident council officers and other interested residents at the development through education and direct participation in all phases of the budgetary process.

(g) Resident council officers shall be encouraged to become involved in the resident screening and selection process for prospective residents at the development.  Those selected to perform resident screening and selection functions must be trained by the HA in resident screening and selection and must sign a legal document committing to confidentiality.

§ 964.140 Resident training.

(a) Resident training opportunities.  HUD encourages a partnership between the residents, the HA and HUD, as well as with the public and non-profit sectors to provide training opportunities for public housing residents.  The categories in which training could occur include, but are not limited to:

(1) Community organization and leadership training;

(2) Organizational development training for Resident Management Corporations and duly elected Resident Councils;

(3) Public housing policies, programs, rights and responsibilities training;  and

(4) Business entrepreneurial training, planning and job skills.

(b) Local training resources.  HUD encourages the use of local training resources to ensure the ongoing accessibility and availability of persons to provide training and technical assistance.  Possible training resources may include:

(1) Resident organizations;

(2) Housing authorities;

(3) Local community colleges, vocational schools;  and

(4) HUD and other Federal agencies and other local public, private and non- profit organizations.

§ 964.145 Conflict of interest.

Resident council officers can not serve as contractors or employees if they are in policy making or supervisory positions at the HA.

§ 964.150 Funding tenant participation.

(a) Funding duly elected resident councils and jurisdiction wide resident councils.

(1) The HA shall provide fund it receives for this purpose to the duly elected resident council at each development and/or those jurisdiction-wide councils eligible to receive the resident portion of the tenant services account to use for resident participation activities.  

This shall be an addition to the Performance Funding System (PFS), as provided by 24 CFR part 990, to permit HAs to fund $25 per unit per year for units represented by duly elected resident councils for resident services, subject to the availability of appropriations.  Of this amount, $15 per unit per year would be provided to fund tenant participation activities under subpart B of this part for duly elected resident councils and/or jurisdiction-wide councils and $10 per unit per year would be used by the HA to pay for costs incurred in carrying out tenant participation activities under subpart B of this part, including the expenses for conducting elections, recalls or arbitration required under § 964.130 in subpart B.  This will guarantee the resources necessary to create a bona fide partnership among the duly elected resident councils, the HA and HUD.  Where both local and jurisdiction-wide councils exist, the distribution will be agreed upon by the HA and the respective councils.

(2) If funds are available through appropriations, the HA must provide tenant services funding to the duly elected resident councils regardless of the HA's financial status.  The resident council funds shall not be impacted or restricted by the HA financial status and all said funds must be used for the purpose set forth in subparts B and C of this part.

(3) The HA and the duly elected resident council at each development and/or those jurisdiction-wide councils shall collaborate on how the funds will be distributed for tenant participation activities.  If disputes regarding funding decisions arise between the parties, the matter shall be referred to the Field Office for intervention.  HUD Field Office shall require the parties to undertake further negotiations to resolve the dispute.  If no resolution is achieved within 90 days from the date of the Field Office intervention, the Field Office shall refer the matter to HUD Headquarters for final resolution.

(b) Stipends.

(1) HUD encourages HAs to provide stipends to resident council officers who serve as volunteers in their public housing developments.  The amount of the stipend, up to $200 per month/per officer, shall be decided locally by the resident council and the HA.  Subject to appropriations, the stipends will be funded from the resident council's portion of the operating subsidy funding for resident council expenses ($15.00 per unit per year).
(2) Pursuant to § 913.106, stipends are not to be construed as salaries and should not be included as income for calculation of rents, and are not subject to conflict of interest requirements.
(3) Funding provided by a HA to a duly elected resident council may be made only under a written agreement between the HA and a resident council, which includes a resident council budget and assurance that all resident council expenditures will not contravene provisions of law and will promote serviceability, efficiency, economy and stability in the operation of the local development.  The agreement must require the local resident council to account to the HA for the use of the funds and permit the HA to inspect and audit the resident council's financial records related to the agreement.

Subpart E–Resident Board Members

§ 964.405 Applicability.

(a) General.  Except as described in paragraph (b) of this section, this subpart applies to any public housing agency that has a public housing annual contributions contract with HUD or administers tenant-based rental assistance under section 8 of the United States Housing

Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f).

(b) Exceptions.  The requirements of this subpart do not apply to a public housing agency that is:

(1) Located in a State that requires the members of a governing board to be salaried and to serve on a full-time basis;  or

(2) Not governed by a governing board.

§ 964.410 Additional definitions.

The following additional definitions apply to this subpart only:
Directly assisted.  Directly assisted means a public housing resident or a recipient of housing assistance in the tenant-based section 8 program.  Direct assistance does not include any State financed housing assistance or Section 8 project-based assistance.

Eligible resident.  An eligible resident is a person:

(1) Who is directly assisted by a public housing agency;

(2) Whose name appears on the lease;  and

(3) Is eighteen years of age or older.

Governing board.  Governing board means the board of directors or similar governing body of a public housing agency.

Resident board member.  A resident board member is a member of the governing board who is directly assisted by that public housing agency.

§ 964.415 Resident board members.

(a) General.  Except as provided in §§ 964.405(b) and 964.425, the membership of the governing board of each public housing agency must contain not less than one eligible resident board member.

(b) Resident board member no longer directly assisted.

(1) A resident board member who ceases to be directly assisted by the public housing agency is no longer an "eligible resident" as defined in § 964.410.

(2) Such a board member may be removed from the PHA board for that cause, where such action is permitted under State or local law.

(3) Alternatively, the board member may be allowed to complete his/her current term as a member of the governing board.  However, the board member may not be re-appointed (or re-elected) to the governing board for purposes of serving as the statutorily required resident board member.

(c) Minimum qualifications for board membership.  Any generally applicable qualifications for board membership also apply to residents, unless the application of the requirements would result in the governing board not containing at least one eligible resident as a member.  

Further, PHAs and localities may not establish eligibility requirements for board membership that are solely applicable to residents.

§ 964.420 Resident board member may be elected.

(a) General.  Residents directly assisted by a public housing agency may elect a resident board member if provided for in the public housing agency plan, adopted in accordance with 24 CFR part 903.

(b) Notice to residents.  The public housing agency must provide residents with at least 30 days advance notice for nominations and elections.  The notice should include a description of the election procedures, eligibility requirements, and dates of nominations and elections.  Any election procedures devised by the public housing agency must facilitate fair elections.

§ 964.425 Small public housing agencies.

(a) General.  The requirements of this subpart do not apply to any public housing agency that:

(1) Has less than 300 public housing units (or has no public housing units):

(2) Has provided reasonable notice to the resident advisory board of the opportunity for residents to serve on the governing board;

(3) Has not been notified of the intention of any resident to participate on the governing board within a reasonable time (which shall not be less than 30 days) of the resident advisory board receiving the notice described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section;  and

(4) Repeats the requirements of paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section at least once every year.

(b) Public housing agencies that only administer Section 8 assistance.  A public housing agency that has no public housing units, but administers Section 8 tenant-based assistance, is eligible for the exception described in paragraph (a) of this section, regardless of the number of Section 8 vouchers it administers.

(c) Failure to meet requirements for exception.  A public housing agency that is otherwise eligible for the exception described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, but does not meet the three conditions described in paragraphs (a)(2) through (a)(4) of this section, must comply with the requirements of this subpart.

§ 964.430 Nondiscrimination.

(a) Membership status.--

(1) General.  A resident board member is a full member of the governing board.

(2) Resident participation must include matters regarding Federal public housing and Section 8 tenant-based assistance.  A resident board member must be allowed to take part in decisions related to the administration, operation, and management of Federal public housing programs and Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance programs.  This rule does not extend to matters that:

(i) Exclusively relate to other types of housing assistance (such as State financed housing assistance);  or

(ii) Do not involve housing assistance (as may occur where the city or county governing body also serves as the PHA board).

(3) Public housing agency may expand scope of resident participation.  A public housing agency may choose to expand the scope of resident member involvement to matters not required under paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(b) Residence status.  A governing board may not prohibit any person from serving on the governing board because that person is a resident of a public housing project or is assisted under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f).

(c) Conflict of interest.  A governing board may not exclude any resident board member from participating in any matter before the governing board on the grounds that the resident board member's lease with the public housing agency, or the resident board member's status as a public housing resident or recipient of Section 8 tenant-based assistance, either results or may result in a conflict of interest, unless the matter is clearly applicable to the resident board member only in a personal capacity and applies uniquely to that member and not generally to residents or to a subcategory of residents.