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CLPHA extends its heartfelt thanks to the San Diego Housing Commission, as well as all of our members and guests, who helped make our June 17-19, 2015 Summer Meeting in San Diego a great success.
Here's a summary of the speeches and panels at the members' meeting.
CLPHA issued a statement following the Obama Administration's July 15, 2015 announcement of a pilot program to provide high-speed Internet connections to dozens of federally subsidized housing communities, including those operated by CLPHA members:
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) welcomes President Obama’s recent announcement of the ConnectHome initiative whose goal is to help boost the educational achievement of children who live in federally subsidized housing by increasing their at-home access to high-speed Internet services.
“It is critical that children living in public housing have access to the tools that will give them the best chance to improve their lives. Digital access is central to today’s educational achievement,” said Sunia Zaterman, CLPHA’s Executive Director.
Among the 27 cities chosen to be part of the ConnectHome pilot project are many served by CLPHA members: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC.
CLPHA members are leaders in efforts to narrow the educational gaps between their school-age residents and other children. They are partners with school districts, foundations and others and are increasingly focused on better aligning their housing assistance to families that include school-age children with services provided by schools and other community institutions and organizations.
This “systems alignment” work aims to make the most effective use of those combined efforts to improve educational outcomes. Narrowing the “digital divide” by making it easier for children in subsidized housing to use high-speed Internet in their homes to complete schoolwork will help ensure the success of this alignment movement.
Furthermore, broadband access in these low-income communities will benefit not just children but entire families. It promises to provide more opportunities for adults to complete their education, find jobs and move further along the path toward self-sufficiency.
CLPHA recently joined NAHRO and PHADA in a joint letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to express strong support for the Senate bill that would expand the Moving To Work (MTW) program by 300 high-performing housing authorities.Full Text >
On July 29, shortly before the U.S. House left town to begin their
mandatory August recess, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member of
the Financial Services Committee, introduced HR 3424, the ‘‘Moving to
Work Reform Act of 2015,’’ co-sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) a
senior member of the committee. This is the second bill regarding the
Moving to Work program introduced in the U.S. House during this
legislative session (see CLPHA Action Alert 7/9/15).
According to Waters, HR 3424 would, “reform a controversial demonstration program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) known as the ‘Moving to Work’ (MTW) program” and “seeks to address many of the known shortcomings of the current demonstration program by requiring HUD to subject all future MTW agreements to several new terms and conditions. Specifically, the bill requires any major policy shifts, such as changes in time limits, work requirements, or raising rent burdens for participating families, to undergo rigorous evaluation before taking effect.”
On July 10, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance of the Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled “The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Programs.” The sole witnesses to testify were Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public and Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and Daniel Garcia-Diaz, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In her testimony, Castro Ramirez said that at HUD “ we are constantly reminded of the millions of low-income American households who are not receiving government assistance, and pay more than half of their income in rent, live in substandard housing, or both” noting that “even at current funding levels, with 96% occupancy in our public housing program and at 98% budget utilization in our HCV program, HUD is only able to provide rental assistance to 24 percent of the 19 million income-eligible households, or one of every four eligible households.”
Garcia-Diaz’s testimony covered HUD’s response to recent GAO findings regarding several HUD programs including Moving to Work (MTW) and the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) programs. According to Garcia-Diaz of the eight recommendations made by GAO in a 2012 report on the MTW program, HUD has since implemented seven them, while two recommendations concerning FSS in a 2013 report have not yet been fully implemented by HUD. Garcia-Diaz’s testimony mentioned the progress HUD has made to (1) improve its guidance to MTW agencies by requiring that information in their annual reports be quantifiable and outcome oriented, (2) develop and implement a plan for quantitatively assessing the effectiveness of similar activities and the program as a whole, and (3) establish performance indicators for the program.Full Text >
The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) recently launched an effort to press Congress to lift the sequester caps on federal spending that continue to harm individuals and families served by CLPHA members.
CHCDF is asking the affordable-housing community to join the “Caps Hurt Communities” campaign. Here are a few of the actions it's asking participants to take:
• Join the Caps Hurt Communities Campaign: Visit www.capshurtcommunities.org to join thousands of advocates across the country who are deeply concerned about the effects of sequestration cuts on critical housing and community development programs.
• Schedule In-district Meetings: In-district meetings are a good way to let your U.S. Representatives and Senators know how you really feel about sequestration budget cuts. Schedule in-district and in-state meetings with your U.S. Representatives and Senators between now and September 7.Full Text >
The Houston Housing Authority (HHA) has taken progressive steps to improve the agency’s energy conservation measures across its public housing communities and the agency as a whole. By taking advantage of federal initiatives, partnering with private companies and local energy providers, the HHA has undertaken a number of projects with an end goal of recouping millions of dollars in energy costs.Full Text >
CLPHA joined law firm Reno & Cavanaugh in raising concerns in comments
to HUD about some of the agency's changes to the Rental Assistance
Demonstration (RAD) program contained in its Revised Notice for the
program (PIH Notice 2012-32, REV-2).
CLPHA reiterated its strong support for the flexibility RAD gives PHAs to meet "a range of local, critical housing needs in a manner similar to other affordable housing developers." In addition, CLPHA welcomed some revisions to RAD administrative rules and procedures.
For instance, collapsing and consolidating initial CHAP transactional milestones into a single Financing Plan milestone within 180 days represents an improvement. Likewise, the modification of Financing Plan due dates to better align with Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) timelines and realities.
But CLPHA expressed its concern that certain changes could prove counterproductive. For example, we are concerned that HUD, by making a priority projects with "severe" need could inadvertently incentivize some PHAs to take on inappropriate projects.Full Text >
Zillow, the popular real-estate marketplace, wants to help low-income renters overcome barriers to housing and wants CLPHA members to help.
Zillow has started a "Community Pillar" program for any landlord who minimizes screening barriers to low-income renters. The new branding would be featured on Zillow's websites.
If you are interested in partnering with Zillow on this effort to encourage landlords
and property managers in your communities and networks to become a
Community Pillar, contact Zillow at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn
At the heart of every housing authority’s mission is improving the lives of the families and individuals they serve. For many housing authorities, this means coordinating with the education, workforce development, health care, transportation, and social services systems on the local level to provide supports and opportunities to residents.
Yet, innovative practice on the local level has not led to the broad-scale change that is needed to lift more than 43 million Americans out of poverty. Thus, CLPHA and its members have committed to work with interested practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to reshape the way that the housing system works with other systems at the federal level.
This effort, called “Building Opportunity” for short, will create that systems change by:
ReThink: Why Housing Matters
CLPHA is proud to be a part of HAI Group's ReThink initiative, a national public awareness campaign encouraging people to reconsider their perceptions about public housing and realize the benefits it offers individuals and the greater community.