HUD No. 12-18-12
Joseph J. Phillips
December 18, 2012
THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF COLUMBUS SELECTED FOR ELITE PROGRAM TO IMPROVE FEDERAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Columbus housing authority one of four public housing authorities to gain distinct status
ATLANTA - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr. announced today that the Housing Authority of Columbus (Ga.) has been selected to participate in HUD's Moving to Work (MTW) program. The MTW program is designed to provide local housing authorities with added flexibility to create and test innovative strategies to use Federal funding more efficiently to assist families either living in public housing or who are assisted through HUD's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
"This housing agency is already forging community partnerships and exploring new and exciting ways to more effectively utilize HUD's rental assistance programs in an effort empower its customers to be more self-sufficient. As a result, more Georgians will be able to be assisted by these scarce resources," said Jennings. "This agency will join the other MTW agencies across the country to streamline government bureaucracy, while requiring more personal accountability from the families we serve."
HUD's MTW program has given selected housing agencies the opportunity to create and study original, locally-developed housing and self-sufficiency strategies that encourage public housing or HCV families to become self-sufficient. HUD selected these housing agencies for this innovative program that Congress authorized in 1996 through a competitive process. Congress authorized four additional designations in 2011 and 2010.
The Housing Authority of Columbus (HACG) is one of four authorities chosen from among a dozen that applied for MTW designation earlier this year. Public housing authorities in Fairfax, Va.; Holyoke, Mass.; and Reno, Nev. were also named today. There are 35 other MTW across the U.S. that have flexibility to use their Federal funds to help families "move to work" by providing incentives such as job training and educational programs that lead to employment and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.
HACG's proximity to Fort Benning and other military installations have sparked the desire to better serve the affordable housing needs of military families and homeless members of the community, in addition to the current populations that it serves. HAGG will conduct a mobility study that will seek to test whether introducing voucher families to better neighborhoods improves outcomes and whether voucher families given the option to move to better neighborhoods will do so. HACG also proposed a controlled rent reform study that will set rents at a lower percentage of income for newly employed residents and then modestly raise this percentage each year, regardless of changes in income.
Ultimately, the program aims to make HUD's largest rental assistance programs more cost effective, while providing families with children more housing choices and incentives to move toward economic self-sufficiency.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.