Posted by Keely Stater, Director of Research and Industry Intelligence, HAI Group
Is your public housing authority (PHA) struggling to find resources to provide services for residents to empower them to thrive, to invest in a network of local partnerships, to make capital improvements pencil out, and find ways to expand your housing stock to better meet the needs in your community? Are you a high performing PHA with under 1,000 combined units, strong community stakeholder relationships, good lines of resident-agency communication, and a clear vision of how affordable housing can improve your community? If so, the Moving to Work (MTW) program might be a game-changer for your agency and Appendix A of the MTW Operations Notice, along with some additional resources, can help you outline the details of a successful MTW strategy.
Right now, agencies are completing the HUD application to be one of the thirty new agencies that will be selected this summer to join the MTW program. Flexibilities provided under the MTW program allow PHAs to waive regulatory barriers to create innovative policies tailored to local needs that 1) improve resident self-sufficiency, 2) increase agency cost-effectiveness and efficiency, and 3) increase the quality and quantity of housing available to low-income households in the community.
Research shows that MTW status has a significant impact on what agencies can accomplish. Current MTW agencies have used MTW flexibilities to boost resident incomes, preserve properties at risk of loss, reach out to landlords in opportunity neighborhoods, create new partnerships to reduce homelessness, improve customer service, save time and money to re-purpose more effectively, and serve previously unreached populations. Agencies also report that MTW status has transformed the way they do business, creating a culture of innovation that drives them to become industry leaders and attracts high-performing staff. Read more about what MTW agencies have done to improve their communities here and find a detailed list of all of the innovations implemented by MTW agencies here.
To apply to the MTW program, eligible PHAs must submit a letter of interest package to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via email by January 11, 2018, and complete a baseline survey. The letter of interest package contains a letter of interest signed by the executive director, a resolution signed by the board of commissioners, and certification of commitment. The Operations Notice and Appendix A can be found here with Appendix A beginning on page 51489. Appendix A details the specific exemptions from various Section 8 and 9 requirements available to new MTW agencies and the process of working with HUD to obtain waivers. PHAs applying to the MTW program will want to fully understand the waiver types and process and how this will impact the potential policies the PHA might propose.
If you’re still thinking about what MTW might mean for you, click here to watch our short video to determine if MTW is right for your agency and find more helpful resources.