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Update: OHCS Continues with Protest of HUD PBCA Award

As reported last month, HUD recently awarded the Performance-Based Contract Administrator (PBCA) award for Oregon to an organization in Washington, meaning Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) would not continue as administrator for the state’s project-based rental assistance contracts through HUD. OHCS followed through with its vow to protest the award, filing an appeal with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the grounds that HUD did not disclose that the baseline admin fee proposed by the applicant would be weighted as strongly as it was in the decision-making process.

Organizations, many of them also state housing finance agencies, across the nation filed similar protests, with the total now at 48, representing 30 contested states. According to calculations posted on the Oregon Housing Blog, those protests now encompass 78% of the projects and 84% of the HUD-assisted units under contracts with PBCAs for rent assistance nationally.

The GAO recently deferred HUD’s motion to dismiss the protests, meaning the agency will have to formally respond. It is unlikely the PBCA transition process in protested states will occur before the October 1 deadline and what HUD will do to prevent a lapse in payment to property owners in that event remains unclear.

Growing national momentum for questioning HUD’s method of bidding the PBCA contracts offers hope for OHCS receiving another chance to retain the contract and continue its exemplary work administering project-based rental assistance in Oregon. Should HUD’s current decision stand, OHCS will lose approximately $4.5 million it already budgeted for the coming years, forcing it to lay off as many as 24 staff members.

— Posted on 8/05/2011