2000 Best Practice Awards
Best of the Best Winners: Utah
Best Practice: Section 8 Lease Up Extravaganza
HOUSING SEARCH FAST-TRACKED THROUGH MASS
Salt Lake City, Utah. The room resembled college registration with tables across
the back and lines snaking out the door. Rather than students, however,
hundreds of families on welfare gathered on a winter day in 2000 to participate
in a Section 8 Lease-Up Extravaganza hosted by the Salt Lake City Housing
Authority. Less than six weeks later, 200 low-income families had obtained
housing using 96 percent of the housing authoritys available Welfare
to Work vouchers.
The event was the brainchild of Jill Riddle,
the housing authoritys leased housing
Recipients receiving Best of the Best award
from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)
supervisor. After hearing about a similar
event during a conference, Ms. Riddle worked on a modified version with
housing authority management. Commitment from the housing authority director,
the mayor, HUD staff and local organizations that included the Salt Lake
Apartment Association, a group of prominent area landlords, and the Horizonte
Instruction and Training Center, a nonprofit providing education to low-income
individuals, contributed to the success of the mass lease-up.
The housing authority began by holding a press
conference to raise awareness of the voucher program. At the press
event, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson spoke about the need for affordable
housing, and HUD State Coordinator Julie Fagan highlighted the positive
impact that the voucher program would have on the community.
Three weeks after the press conference, the
housing authority had persuaded the Salt Lake Apartment Association to market
and host landlord training on the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher program.
A slight rise in area vacancies had helped the housing authority convince
the association of the need for the training. A panel at the training session
included housing authority staff describing the voucher program and an association
attorney explaining landlord benefits under the Housing Choice Voucher contract.
Landlords signed up on interest sheets and gave permission for distribution
of the list to
The next stepmass intakebegan
with notification of 300 families on the housing authoritys waiting
list to bring in appropriate documents and verification data. The Section
8 staff set up a wall of tables in the back of a room and qualified
more than 300 families in two days, with the help of the states Department
of Workforce Services, which faxed family qualifying information to
the authority within a day.
Just two weeks after the landlord training,
qualified families were invited to a two-day mass orientation held in a
large cafeteria donated by the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center.
Five Section 8 caseworkers roamed through the room, answering questions,
and helping families review and sign their paperwork.
Each family was provided with the list of
landlords who had signed interest sheets, and a competitive house hunt began,
with 200 vouchers available to the 300 families. Families were locating
apartments and receiving landlord approval at a rate of six a day. Six weeks
after the mass orientation, low-income families have used all but eight
of the 200 vouchers.
The extravaganza broke through the formerly
lengthy lease-up process. Perhaps more importantly, it helped change the
lives of residents. For Rainna Park, a single mother with three children
aged 8, 7 and 2 who has moved 18 times during the past two years while waiting
to reach the top of the authoritys list, the program provided a townhouse,
a job with a church distribution center and a future for her family.
Contact: Jill Riddle, Phone: (801) 487-2161
Tracking Number: 73
Winning Category: Geographic and Program (Public and Indian Housing)
Best Practice: Homeless Veterans Apartment
Program Provides Housing for Homeless Veterans
Salt Lake City, Utah. The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, Utah (HASLC), brought
together nontraditional funding partners to acquire and rehabilitate a 14-unit
complex for homeless veterans who were willing to enter into a lease requiring
a mandatory work component.
The program, the first in HUDs Rocky
Mountain Region, was innovative in the way it brought in partners to provide
the housing, casework and social services, and vocational training and job
placement. Grant proposals were written to the Department of Veteran Affairs,
the State of Utah, HUD HOME funds, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle
Eileen Hjorth, Rosemary Caps and Michael Telegose
receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary
through First Security Bank, and the Salt
Lake City Redevelopment Agency.
HASLCs program was developed to serve
a specific clientele, the homeless veteran. The veteran must have the physical
ability to participate in a vocational job training program and is required
to pay 30 percent of his income toward the rent. Residents are required
to maintain their apartments in a safe and sanitary condition, and are encouraged
to maintain the grounds to foster community pride.
Monthly meetings are held to address any property
management or case management issues. The program offers independent living
opportunities and vocational training within a supportive environment. The
goal is to break the cycle of homelessness through transitional housing,
resolve problems that contribute to homelessness, and help the veteran earn
enough money to live in the community after 18-24 months.
Faced with a number of challenges, including
finding a suitable building and convincing the neighborhood that this was
a good program, HASLC collaborated with local nonprofit organizations, a
federal agency and faith-based organizations. The project has a number of
- A 14-unit dilapidated apartment complex
has been bought, rehabilitated and is now an asset to the community.
- The creative funding for this project opened
the doors for more collaboration between the housing authority and Veterans
- Collaboration with a local manufacturer
created a new partnership that is valuable to the housing authority in
its other programs.
- The collaboration with other partners broadened
the housing authoritys visibility in the community and led to an
improved relationship with the private sector.
- To date, 24 formerly homeless veterans have
a safe place to live, are in active case management and are learning new
Intangible benefits include the veterans
new sense of belonging. They are moved from a crowded shelter into an apartment
that they can call their own. They are given the opportunity to work with
a case manager to help them break the habits that caused them to be homeless.
Veterans are given a place of employment free of prejudice about their past
To establish a similar program, communities
should determine the scale and scope of the homeless veteran problem; identify
third-party service providers, prospective employers and referral agencies;
identify a suitable site; assemble funding, obtain approvals, purchase the
site, build or rehabilitate the structure; negotiate and sign agreements
with service providers and employers; and identify, screen and qualify prospective
Contact: Eileen Hjorth, Phone: (801) 487-2161 Ext.1220
Tracking Number: 72
Winning Category: Program (Public and Indian Housing)
Best Practice: Northeastern Housing Partnership
Utah Partnership Provides Affordable Housing
and Job Training
The Northeastern Housing Partnership in Utah is an innovative solution to
producing quality affordable housing units while at the same time teaching
job skills to inmates in a local prison. Inmates receive training in building
homes for a wage of 50 cents per hour, while under the supervision of a licensed
contractor from the Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center. The Partnership
is made up of three state units; the Uintah Basin Association of Governments,
which is responsible for financing the homes while in the construction process;
Duchesne County Justice Complex, which provides a
Recipients receiving Best of the Best award
from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)
compound where modular houses can be built
by the inmates; and Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center, which provides
the instructors to train and oversee the construction of the homes. The
homes are then moved to the site and placed on foundations. Local contractors
perform all site work allowing them to benefit from the partnership.
To be eligible to buy a home in the program,
a family needs to be low-income, but yet able to qualify for a conventional
loan, which requires a good credit rating and good debt ratios. The two
families that have qualified to date have both been single mothers with
The three rural counties that make up the
Uintah Basin area have a weak economy, and decent affordable housing is
scarce. At present, numerous older substandard mobile homes are left over
from the 1970s, and they need to be replaced with affordable housing.
On average, completing a home takes between
three to four months, and the houses cost $55,000 to $58,000 while other
homes in the area cost an average of $86,000, making the new homes built
by prison inmates a good buy for low-income families. To replicate
the process the following three entities would have to come together in
a partnership: local government entity with a funding source, local prison
interested in providing a housing construction program for the inmates,
and a local trade school interested in teaching the construction program
at the prison.
Contact: Curtis Dastrup, Phone: (435) 722-4518
Tracking Number: 118
Winning Category: Program (Community Builder)
Best Practice: Habitat for Humanity
Northern Utah - City Creek Estates - Spring Break - Collegiate Challenge
Volunteers Build Affordable Homes in Utah
|Salt Lake City, Utah. College students from distant states traveled to Brigham
City, Utah, to join local volunteers in constructing homes for low-income
families during the Spring Break 2000 Build. Through Habitat for Humanitys
Collegiate Challenge program, volunteers are matched with communities in
search of construction help, and together they learn valuable teamwork
and building skills while creating needed affordable housing. For the Habitat
for Humanity Northern Utah chapter, the students who spent their spring
break working with local volunteers contributed more than just time and
laborthey brought spirit and good will to the community that has encouraged
others to volunteer. The City Creek Estates
Donald Mitchell (c) receiving Best of the
Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)
project being developed by Habitat for Humanity
Northern Utah consists of 17 townhouse units that will be purchased by families
with 30 percent to 50 percent median area income who might otherwise be
unable to afford their own home. Homes are made affordable to the families
through zero percent interest, no-profit mortgages and costs are contained
through the donation of materials, the work of volunteers, and the
sweat equity of the future homeowners.
The increased density of the City Creek Estates
development takes full advantage of the land available and reduces construction
costs, which increases the savings for the future homebuyers. The townhouse-style
construction also allows Habitat to help more people in less time.
Funding from a Federal Home Loan Bank grant
enabled Habitat for Humanity Northern Utah to speed up the construction
schedule for the City Creek Estates development and request the assistance
of additional volunteers through the Collegiate Challenge program. Eleven
students from the State York at Cortland State and the University of Wisconsin
at LaCrosse traveled to Utah at their own expense to spend their spring
breaks building the homes with volunteers from local churches, youth groups,
and the prospective homeowners.
To host the students, several congregations
in Brigham City worked together to provide meals for the guests. The Habitat
chapter worked with the Utah National Guard to supply housing accommodations
for the students during their week-long stay.
I wish we had ten more Collegiate Challengesthey
were so dedicated, said Habitat for Humanity Northern Utah board member
Don Mitchell. Many of the students had participated in Habitat projects
before, but wanted to take the opportunity to volunteer in a smaller community.
Under the direction of the construction supervisor, the students learned
framing, sub-floor installation, and other construction skills.
While the Collegiate Challenge participants
are one of many groups to work with Habitat for Humanity Northern Utah on
the City Creek Estates development, their presence in the community generated
press coverage that raised awareness of the project and the work of all
Habitat volunteers. As a result, new organizations were eager to volunteer
their time and labor to the project and join with groups such as the students
from area high schools and Utah State University and local churches who
were already involved.
Contact: Patricia Williams, Phone: (801) 524-6076
Tracking Number: 83
Winning Category: Program (Community Planning and Development)
Return to Best
Practices 2000 Best of the Best Winners
Content Archived: April 20, 2011