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HUD No. 24-145
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
June 13, 2024

HUD Takes Action to Protect Families Against Extreme Heat

Interagency initiative focuses on equitable distribution of the Administration’s historic investments

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced new guidance on the use of HUD funding to help mitigate the impacts of extreme heat for nearly 1.6 million residents in public housing especially for those most vulnerable, including older Americans, infants and young children, and people with chronic medical conditions. Effective today, HUD’s new guidance to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) helps to clarify the steps PHAs can take immediately to reduce the threat of extreme heat for residents by providing families with relief during severe or extreme heat periods, to help them afford to cool their homes. These new options allow PHAs to increase utility allowances for residents or forgo surcharges for the use of cooling, so that residents can use air conditioning during periods of severe or extreme heat. Today’s guidance is consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on lowering home energy costs for residents in public housing by making it easier to request relief for excess utility expenses. HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Richard Monocchio made the announcement today in Tucson, Arizona, with the local PHA, alongside city and state officials who are collectively responding to extreme heat conditions.

“We must protect the health and safety of our families during increasingly severe weather events, like extreme heat, that can cause grave harm and even death to any member of our community,” said Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. “As we transition into the Summer months, the need for public housing residents to access necessary cooling systems is vital and we are assertively taking these steps in the fight against extreme heat.”

Extreme heat can greatly impact all people and is the leading cause of weather-related deaths every year. There are many ways to mitigate the effects of extreme heat in buildings and this guidance provides PHAs with additional examples of cooling strategies to consider outside of providing air-conditioning. While HUD defines extreme heat as a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for a minimum of two to three days, this guidance allows for even more local control by allowing PHAs to define severe or extreme heat more broadly to support families in their communities.

“Home should be a place of comfort, and nobody should have to risk heat-related illness residing in their own home,” said Richard Monocchio, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing. “This Notice makes it as easy as possible for PHAs to help individuals and families in public housing afford air conditioning and reinforces PHAs ability to create cooling centers for residents in public housing. We are providing maximum local control and decision-making for an issue that impacts more and more communities across the country each year.”

PHAs can choose to provide relief to any family in public housing that requests it, for excess utilities charges due to severe or extreme heat. The new guidance helps PHAs respond rapidly to the threat of heat events and makes it easier for residents to request relief.

For additional resources on extreme heat and to learn more about preparedness and response and available resources for climate resilience funding, visit HUD’s Extreme Heat webpage and the collection of resources at HUDExchange.


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