DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: IMPROVE SECTION 8 WAITING LIST MANAGEMENT; DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT LOCAL PREFERENCES

10-I
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: IMPROVE SECTION 8 WAITING LIST MANAGEMENT; DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT LOCAL PREFERENCES
Problem Identification:
The Section 8 program has a waiting list of approximately 21,000 families. The list is continuously open, and new families apply every day. HABC has elected to use no applicant selection preferences; selection from the waiting list is based on the date and time of application. Applicants who are currently being admitted to the program applied in 1991.HUD regulations encourage the adoption of selection preferences that reflect local needs and priorities. These preferences allow localities to target scarce resources to families that are most in need of housing assistance.HUD studies of the success or failure of eligible families to lease suitable housing under the nationwide program suggest strongly that the shorter the time between a family’s application and the receipt of a voucher, the more likely the family is to remain interested in the program and to succeed in finding a unit. By reducing the time that selected families wait to receive assistance, HABC should also achieve administrative efficiencies in the Section 8 admissions process.

Recommended Actions:
Improve Section 8 waiting list management by developing and implementing local preferences, and by closing the waiting list to new applicants who do not claim a preference.

Adopt local preferences for:

– Families with members who have jobs or job offers and seek to live closer to work; and
– Families that indicate a willingness to consider a mobility move, and/or a move to an area where their race does not predominate, and are willing to attend mobility counseling prior to receiving a voucher.

Evaluate the adoption of local preferences for:

– Families with children, especially children with elevated blood lead levels and/or living in housing with lead hazards;
– Families requiring relocation under witness protection;
– Families that are victims of domestic violence;
– Families living in distressed and/or substandard public housing; and
– Families with rent burdens in excess of 50 percent of income, who are at risk of homelessness.

When preferences are adopted, close the Section 8 waiting list to new applicants who do not claim a preference. Accept applications on a continuing basis from applicants who do claim a preference.

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Function/Operational Area:
HABC/Section 8

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, implementation should lead to faster service for neediest families, higher leasing success rates for voucher holders, and greater efficiencies in management of waiting list.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
Public policy issues regarding which groups will be designated for preference. Public resistance to closing of waiting list, largely offset by keeping list open for families with preference.

Projected Implementation:
180 days – 1 year

Next Steps:
Assess Administration support for designation of selection preferences.

Analysis:
Although the adoption of specific selection preferences is clearly a policy issue, the use of preferences consistent with local priorities to shorten the wait for the neediest families is also an issue of management efficiency and, therefore, determined to be an appropriate concern for this committee.