DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: PRIVATIZE THE SECTION 8 LEASED HOUSING PROGRAM OR OVERHAUL THE PROGRAM’S MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

10-A
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: PRIVATIZE THE SECTION 8 LEASED HOUSING PROGRAM OR OVERHAUL THE PROGRAM’S MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
Problem Identification:
The Section 8 program is perceived by its participants, its partners, and the broader community as inefficient, inflexible, and uncooperative. If this perception is to change, either the program needs to be privatized or the culture of the Section 8 division must be changed, the staff trained in the fundamentals of customer service, and their performance judged in accordance with quantifiable goals established by HABC.

Recommended Actions:
Privatize Section 8 if a qualified private company can be identified. (The Committee’s analysis is that there are few, if any, private companies that would be qualified and interested.) If the program is not privatized, hire senior leadership with demonstrated commitment and capacity to work effectively with administration, staff, other agencies, and the broader community to:- operate the Section 8 program efficiently and effectively;
– utilize available resources to provide broader opportunities for participant mobility; and
– optimize the potential of rental assistance for encouraging and supporting the preservation and revitalization of neighborhoods.

Implementing this recommendation would necessitate instituting performance-based management requiring the establishment of quantifiable goals in the following areas:

– customer service
– program utilization
– quality control
– mobility
– neighborhood support

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Function/Operational Area:
HABC/Section 8

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, implementation should result in improved relationships with clients, partners, broader community and measurable improvements in program performance.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
$25,000 for a severance package for senior leadership ($15,000) and executive staff recruitment ($10,000).

Barriers to implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
180 days

Next Steps:
Identify available staff that can oversee operation until replacements are found. Conduct a nationwide search to identify candidates to manage the program.

Analysis:
This recommendation is based on a consensus viewpoint that the culture of the Section 8 division must undergo a radical change to become:

– more pro-active;
– more service oriented; and
– more performance-driven.

Replacing senior leadership who may not be performing adequately will give HABC the opportunity to hire senior managers with the necessary expertise and commitment to providing an improved level of service. It will also send a message to the remaining Section 8 staff that poor customer service and lackluster performance will not be tolerated. The adoption of a performance-based management strategy, the communication of quantifiable performance goals to all staff, and the monitoring of staff performance will provide the basis for sound personnel decisions in the future.