24 CFR § 5.109 - Equal participation of faith-based organizations in HUD programs and activities.
(a) Purpose. Consistent with Executive Order 13279, entitled “Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations,” as amended by Executive Order 13559, entitled “Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships With Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations,” and as amended by Executive Order 13831, entitled “Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative,” this section describes requirements for ensuring the equal participation of faith-based organizations in HUD programs and activities. These requirements apply to all HUD programs and activities, including all of HUD's Native American Programs, except as may be otherwise noted in the respective program regulations in title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), or unless inconsistent with certain HUD program authorizing statutes.
(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section:
Direct Federal financial assistance means Federal financial assistance provided when a Federal Government agency or an intermediary, as defined in this section, selects the provider and either purchases services from that provider (i.e., via a contract) or awards funds to that provider to carry out an activity (e.g., via grant, sub-grant, sub-award, or cooperative agreement). The recipients of sub-grants or sub-awards that receive Federal financial assistance through State-administered programs (e.g., flow-through programs) are considered recipients of direct Federal financial assistance. In general, Federal financial assistance shall be treated as direct, unless it meets the definition of indirect Federal financial assistance.
Federal financial assistance means assistance that non-Federal entities receive or administer in the forms of grants, contracts, loans, loan guarantees, property, cooperative agreements, food commodities, direct appropriations, or other assistance, but does not include a tax credit, deduction, or exemption.
Indirect Federal financial assistance means Federal financial assistance provided when the choice of the provider is placed in the hands of the beneficiary, and the cost of that service is paid through a voucher, certificate, or other similar means of Government-funded payment. Federal financial assistance provided to an organization is considered indirect when the Government program through which the beneficiary receives the voucher, certificate, or other similar means of Government-funded payment is neutral toward religion meaning that it is available to providers without regard to the religious or non-religious nature of the institution and there are no program incentives that deliberately skew for or against religious or secular providers; and the organization receives the assistance as a result of a genuine, independent choice of the beneficiary.
Intermediary means an entity, including a nongovernmental organization, acting under a contract, grant, or other agreement with the Federal Government or with a State, tribal or local government that accepts Federal financial assistance and distributes that assistance to other entities that, in turn, carry out activities under HUD programs.
Religious exercise has the meaning given to the term in 42 U.S.C. 2000cc–5(7)(A).
(c) Equal participation of faith-based organizations in HUD programs and activities. Faith-based organizations are eligible, on the same basis as any other organization, to participate in any HUD program or activity, considering any permissible accommodations, particularly under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Neither the Federal Government, nor a State, tribal or local government, nor any other entity that administers any HUD program or activity, shall discriminate against an organization on the basis of the organization's religious character, affiliation, or lack thereof, or on the basis of the organization's religious exercise. For purposes of this part, to discriminate against an organization on the basis of the organization's religious exercise means to disfavor an organization, including by failing to select an organization, disqualifying an organization, or imposing any condition or selection criterion that otherwise disfavors or penalizes an organization in the selection process or has such an effect:
(1) Because of conduct that would not be considered grounds to disfavor a secular organization;
(2) Because of conduct that must or could be granted an appropriate accommodation in a manner consistent with RFRA (42 U.S.C. 2000bb through 2000bb–4) or the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution; or
(3) Because of the actual or suspected religious motivation of the organization's religious exercise.
(4) In addition, decisions about awards of Federal financial assistance must be free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference and must be made on the basis of merit, not based on the organization's religious character, affiliation, or lack thereof, or based on the organization's religious exercise. Notices of funding availability, grant agreements, and cooperative agreements shall include language substantially similar to that in appendix A to this subpart, where faith-based organizations are eligible for such opportunities.
(d) Independence and identity of faith-based organizations.
(1) A faith-based organization that applies for, or participates in, a HUD program or activity supported with Federal financial assistance retains its autonomy, right of expression, religious character, authority over its governance, and independence, and may continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, development, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs. A faith-based organization that receives Federal financial assistance from HUD does not lose the protections of law.
Memorandum for All Executive Departments and Agencies, From the Attorney General, “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty” (Oct. 6, 2017) (describing Federal law protections for religious liberty).
(2) A faith-based organization that receives direct Federal financial assistance may use space (including a sanctuary, chapel, prayer hall, or other space) in its facilities (including a temple, synagogue, church, mosque, or other place of worship) to carry out activities under a HUD program without concealing, altering, or removing religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols. In addition, a faith-based organization participating in a HUD program or activity retains its authority over its internal governance, and may retain religious terms in its organization's name, select its board members and employees on the basis of their acceptance of or adherence to the religious tenets of the organization consistent with paragraph (i) of this section), and include religious references in its organization's mission statements and other governing documents.
(e) Explicitly religious activities. If an organization engages in explicitly religious activities (including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization), the explicitly religious activities must be offered separately, in time or location, from the programs or activities supported by direct Federal financial assistance and participation must be voluntary for the beneficiaries of the programs or activities that receive direct Federal financial assistance. The use of indirect Federal financial assistance is not subject to this restriction. Nothing in this part restricts HUD's authority under applicable Federal law to fund activities, that can be directly funded by the Government consistent with the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
(f) Intermediary responsibilities to ensure equal participation of faith-based organizations in HUD programs. If an intermediary—acting under a contract, grant, or other agreement with the Federal Government or with a State, tribal or local government that is administering a program supported by Federal financial assistance—is given the authority to select a nongovernmental organization to receive Federal financial assistance under a contract, grant, sub-grant, sub-award, or cooperative agreement, the intermediary must ensure that such organization complies with the requirements of this section. If the intermediary is a nongovernmental organization, it retains all other rights of a nongovernmental organization under the program's statutory and regulatory provisions.
(g) Nondiscrimination requirements. Any organization that receives Federal financial assistance under a HUD program or activity shall not, in providing services with such assistance or carrying out activities with such assistance, discriminate against a beneficiary or prospective beneficiary on the basis of religion, religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice. However, an organization that participates in a program funded by indirect Federal financial assistance need not modify its program or activities to accommodate a beneficiary who chooses to expend the indirect aid on the organization's program and may require attendance at all activities that are fundamental to the program.
(h) No additional assurances from faith-based organizations. A faith-based organization is not rendered ineligible by its religious nature to access and participate in HUD programs. Absent regulatory or statutory authority, no notice of funding availability, grant agreement, cooperative agreement, covenant, memorandum of understanding, policy, or regulation that is used by HUD or a recipient or intermediary in administering Federal financial assistance from HUD shall require otherwise eligible faith-based organizations to provide assurances or notices where they are not required of similarly situated secular organizations. All organizations that participate in HUD programs or activities, including organizations with religious character or affiliations, must carry out eligible activities in accordance with all program requirements, subject to any required or appropriate accommodation, particularly under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other applicable requirements governing the conduct of HUD-funded activities, including those prohibiting the use of direct financial assistance to engage in explicitly religious activities. No notice of funding availability, grant agreement, cooperative agreement, covenant, memorandum of understanding, policy, or regulation that is used by HUD or a recipient or intermediary in administering financial assistance from HUD shall disqualify otherwise eligible faith-based organizations from participating in HUD's programs or activities because such organization is motivated or influenced by religious faith to provide such programs and activities, or because of its religious character or affiliation, or on grounds that discriminate against an organization on the basis of the organization's religious exercise, as defined in this part.
(i) Exemption from Title VII employment discrimination requirements. A religious organization's exemption from the Federal prohibition on employment discrimination on the basis of religion, set forth in section 702(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–1), is not forfeited when the organization participates in a HUD program. Some HUD programs, however, contain independent statutory provisions that impose certain nondiscrimination requirements on all grantees. Accordingly, grantees should consult with the appropriate HUD program office to determine the scope of applicable requirements.
(j) Acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of structures. Direct Federal financial assistance may be used for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures only to the extent that those structures are used for conducting eligible activities under a HUD program or activity. Where a structure is used for both eligible and explicitly religious activities (including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization), direct Federal financial assistance may not exceed the cost of the share of acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation attributable to eligible activities in accordance with the cost accounting requirements applicable to the HUD program or activity. However, acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of sanctuaries, chapels, or other rooms that a HUD-funded faith-based organization uses as its principal place of worship, may not be paid with direct Federal financial assistance. Disposition of real property by a faith-based organization after its use for an authorized purpose, or any change in use of the property from an authorized purpose, is subject to Government-wide regulations governing real property disposition (2 CFR part 200, subpart D) and the HUD program regulations, as directed by HUD.
(k) Commingling of Federal and State, tribal, and local funds. If a State, tribal, or local government voluntarily contributes its own funds to supplement direct Federal financial assistance for an activity, the State, tribal or local government has the option to segregate those funds or commingle them with the direct Federal financial assistance. However, if the funds are commingled, the requirements of this section apply to all of the commingled funds. Further, if a State, tribal, or local government is required to contribute matching funds to supplement direct Federal financial assistance for an activity, the matching funds are considered commingled with the direct Federal financial assistance and, therefore, subject to the requirements of this section. Some HUD programs' requirements govern any activity assisted under those programs. Accordingly, recipients should consult with the appropriate HUD program office to determine the scope of applicable requirements.
(l) Tax exempt organizations. In general, HUD does not require that a recipient, including a faith-based organization, obtain tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to be eligible for funding under HUD programs. Many grant programs, however, do require an organization to be a nonprofit organization in order to be eligible for funding. Notices of funding availability that require organizations to have nonprofit status will specifically so indicate in the eligibility section of the notice of funding availability. In addition, if any notice of funding availability requires an organization to maintain tax-exempt status, it will expressly state the statutory authority for requiring such status. Applicants should consult with the appropriate HUD program office to determine the scope of any applicable requirements. In HUD programs in which an applicant must show that it is a nonprofit organization but this is not statutorily defined, the applicant may do so by any of the following means:
(1) Proof that the Internal Revenue Service currently recognizes the applicant as an organization to which contributions are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(2) A statement from a State or other governmental taxing body or the State secretary of State certifying that—
(i) The organization is a nonprofit organization operating within the State; and
(ii) No part of its net earnings may benefit any private shareholder or individual;
(3) A certified copy of the applicant's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes the nonprofit status of the applicant;
(4) Any item described in paragraphs (l)(1) through (3) of this section, if that item applies to a State or national parent organization, together with a statement by the State or parent organization that the applicant is a local nonprofit affiliate; or
(5) For an entity that holds a sincerely held religious belief that it cannot apply for a determination as an entity that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, evidence sufficient to establish that the entity would otherwise qualify as a nonprofit organization under paragraphs (l)(1) through (4) of this section.
(m) Rule of construction. Neither HUD nor any recipient or other intermediary receiving funds under any HUD program or activity shall construe these provisions in such a way as to advantage or disadvantage faith-based organizations affiliated with historic or well-established religions or sects in comparison with other religions or sects.