All REAC Inspections to use NSPIRE Standards Starting October 2023
HUD’s NSPIRE changes to REAC are on pace to roll out as of October 1, 2023. On October 19th, our Founding Partner, Scott Precourt, participated in a panel discussion at the NLHA Conference in Washington, DC, and received an update on the demonstration program. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD REAC shared NSPIRE’s advancements through the initial development and exploratory phases. What REAC learned in the demonstration program led to a solid working model that will be tested in the remaining ten months of the demonstration program.
Here are the high points of the discussion:
- NSPIRE Roll-Out Sessions: REAC is planning a series of update sessions with a soft launch of new updates coming as early as next week.
- New IT Solutions: HUD REAC will be releasing previews of the new NSPIRE online system, including a portal for uploading copies of proof of repairs and other tools for working with inspection results.
- NSPIRE Scoring: The NSPIRE scoring notice is expected this fall. The impending notice will show how the standards will be applied and how they will impact the new inspection model. The scoring model was described as streamlined and easier to understand.
- Health and Safety: NSPIRE will include a two-tiered approach to Life-Threatening Issues – with “Severe Non-Life Threatening” and “Severe Life-Threatening.” Non-Life threatening issues will have 30 days to be repaired, which aligns NSPIRE with the HOTMA changes applied to the Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
What are the Next Steps for NSPIRE?
HUD REAC is continuing to test the new standards in the demonstration program and will release notices in the Federal Register for review and comment. As part of the immediate next steps, REAC plans to release a crosswalk to the new NPSIRE standards compared to UPCS. The UPCS to NSPIRE crosswalk will highlight the “have to have” requirements, such as expanded requirements for smoke alarms, CO detectors, fire doors, dryer exhausts, guardrails, and handrails. Additionally, some of the more impactful updates will include more stringent requirements for heating, call-for-aid, GFCI/AFCI, electrical outlets, mold, infestation, and structural systems. After that, there will be a series of training events conducted by HUD REAC throughout the country, and some resources will be released to help the industry prepare for the transition.
Big Questions Still Remain About NSPIRE Rollout
Since the initial outline of NSPIRE in January 2019, REAC has swiftly created a new set of standards for deficiencies, a new set of procedures, and a greatly reformed sense of direction. As we’ve been fond of saying, the NSPIRE change is more than just a new checklist – it’s a more holistic measurement of daily maintenance and overall safety standards. However, the ambitiousness of NSPIRE leaves a lot of questions still to be answered, and we’re anxious to see where the process goes next.
- How will NSPIRE change impact the HOME, Housing Trust Fund (HTF), and LIHTC program’s use of UPCS standards?
- How will HUD’s NSPIRE website interact with other software platforms?
- Are the NSPIRE standards finalized, or are other changes still anticipated?
- Are the self-inspection requirements going to include any electronic upload requirements?
- How will HQS for voucher programs be affected by the implementation of NSPIRE?
Over the next year, we’ll release information as it becomes known to us and develop training tools once the information is firm and ready for the industry to act upon.