CoC/ESG/HOPWA Regulatory Waiver Guidance

April 28, 2020
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Built for Zero compiled this information in response to community requests for consolidated, vetted guidance about HUD’s recently issued regulatory waivers on a number of requirements for the CoC, ESG, and HOPWA programs.

On April 1, HUD issued  “regulatory waivers” of a number of requirements for the Continuum of Care (CoC), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) programs in order to give communities more flexibility to both prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to provide direct support to people who are impacted by COVID-19. 

This document is designed to get you started with information about what the waivers do and how to use them. Please note that this set of regulatory waivers is different from the PIH waiver HUD issued on April 10. For introductory guidance on that document, please click here.

For more comprehensive resources on the April 1 (CoC/ESG/HOPWA) waiver, you can:


Last Updated April 28, 2020

The April 1 HUD regulatory waiver covers the CoC, ESG, and HOPWA programs. In the table below, we summarize individual waivers. Communities can adopt some, all, or none of the waivers at their discretion. More info on how to do so is in the next section of this document.

For more detail on any of the individual waivers, we again recommend the slides from HUD’s recent regulatory waiver webinar. The information below is intended solely as a high-level summary, for which we are indebted in part to excellent notes from Detroit. 

The HUD regulatory waivers cover the following CoC program areas:

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For the ESG program, the regulatory waivers cover the following areas:

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For the HOPWA program, the regulatory waivers cover the following areas:

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The HUD regulatory waivers also covers the following consolidated community plan requirements:

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Once you’ve decided which waivers you’d like to use, you’ll need to:

  • Notify the Community Planning & Development (CPD) director at your local HUD field office by email at least two days before you anticipate using the flexibility it grants. 
  • HUD has provided a list of CPD Director emails for you to use when you reach out. You must use these emails, not any existing contact info you have for CPD Directors.
  • Detroit has produced an excellent sample email and template.
  • Housing Innovations has created several excellent examples: here is a sample waiver, sample policy, and sample process for waivers.  


You don’t need to provide any documentation to begin using the waivers, but HUD has established information gathering requirements for actually using each waiver, which are spelled out in the slides from HUD’s regulatory waiver webinar and the accompanying memo

For example, even with waiver for the “Fair Market Rent (FMR) for Individual Units and Leasing Costs” requirement, HUD still requires that rent payments for individual units with leasing dollars must meet the “rent reasonableness” standard. We recommend that you use ctrl-F in the memo document to find the requirements for the waivers you plan to apply for.

In addition, HUD strongly recommends (but does not require) that you:

  • Establish a set of emergency policies and procedures to govern your use of the flexibility granted by the waivers, and 
  • Explain what kind of data you’ll collect about how you’re using them.

The slides from HUD’s regulatory waiver webinar spell out suggested documentation to collect for each waiver. For example, for the FMR rule:

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For specific, bounded questions about what’s allowed, your best best is to use the HUD Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. HUD triages AAQ questions pretty quickly to expert TA providers (often the same folks who provide on-the-ground TA), and you’ll typically get a response within 3-5 business days (maybe a little longer these days). 



Learn more about our process for vetting information.


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What context was the data underlying this recommendation collected in?

  • This data was collected largely (and sometimes copied directly) from publicly available HUD resources. Some ancillary documents were collected from BfZ communities.

What context or question do we recommend this resource for?

  • We recommend this resource for communities who have questions about what the 4/1 regulatory waiver covers and how to use it.

What other contexts do we reasonably think this recommendation might apply to, and on what basis?

  • n/a


verified by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

Who reviewed this data, and what are their credentials to assess it?

  • Two members of the BFZ team — a former attorney and an improvement advisor who joined us from a current HUD TA provider — drafted this guidance, later reviewed by other team members.


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When was the data underlying this recommendation collected?

  • Links in this resource are accurate as of 4/28/20.

Do we have reason to believe the situation has materially changed since that date, or is likely to change soon?

  • We anticipate that this guidance may change over time and recommend subscribing to HUD’s email update list for the latest guidance.


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What specific component of this resource do we recommend?

  • N/A

Are there any specific elements of this resource we do not recommend?

  • N/A

Open Questions

questions by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

What elements of this resource were we unable to assess?

  • N/A

What elements of this resource do we want to know more about?

  • Whether waivers are likely to be extended.