There is a policy shift coming shortly to some Section 8 systems around the country. There is a federal program, called “move to work” is designed to reduce administrative costs of the housing authorities. It allows them to exempt themselves from certain federal rules and regulations in order to create flexibility to test new and innovative strategies to get more people out of the section 8 system and become self sufficient. These are the 3 main goals:
- Reduce cost and achieve greater costs effectiveness in Federal expenditures;
- Give incentives to families with children where the head of household is working, is seeking work, or is preparing for work by participating in job training, educational programs, or programs that assist people to obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient; and
- Increase housing choices for low-income families.
Currently, there are only 39 housing authorities designated as “move to work” (out of 3,300 total nationwide) but if they are successful you can expect the rest to follow.
So what are some of the changes? In Columbus, the board just recently approved the following changes.
1. They changed the annual inspection of the property from once a year, to once every two years (for landlords in good standing). Now, this is great news for landlords (or the good ones, at least) because the section 8 inspections can be tedious and time consuming. This is also good for the housing authorities as it saves them money from sending there inspectors out. HOWEVER, this is NOT such great news for section 8 residents. The annual inspections are one of the only assurances that the property is up to code and that the landlord is keeping the property in proper shape. The new laws do not specify what it means for a landlord to be “in good standing” and that is concerning as well.
2. Elderly and disabled residents with stable income will now only have to be re certified every THREE years instead of annually. This is great for everyone because it again saves the HA’s some money and relieves a big burden of the residents to have to prove their financial outlook each year.
3. The agency will cut the amount of money spent on verifying residents assets (from $50,000 to $5,000). This is also good news for the residents as those of you that have been through the audit process of verifying assets know what a huge (and seemingly unnecessary) headache that can be.
So while the above changes only apply to the Columbus HA, you should keep on top of these changes because if they are successful, they are sure to spread around the country shortly thereafter.