That Extra Mile

The Housing Authority of the City of Corsicana is just not content with the status quo. Due to the growing shortage of affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary rental housing in Navarro County, the Corsicana Housing Authority has been experiencing difficulties in locating a sufficient number of units with landlords who are willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (whereby rental assistance is provided to qualified individuals to enable them to afford decent housing).

As a result of the competition for available rental units, a large number of voucher holders have been experiencing rent burdens if they were able to find units. Many voucher holders have been unsuccessful in locating housing. And some of the vouchers have remained unused.

A review of the Corsicana data in the PIC/MTCS public housing database indicated that the rent burden problem was extensive in Corsicana and that some kind of action was needed.

In a letter dated May 31, 2003, Fort Worth HUD Public Housing (PH) staff encouraged the Housing Authority to review and comment on the just published FY 2004 proposed Fair Market Rents (FMRs) that control how much a Housing Authority may pay to a landlord providing acceptable housing. Comments on the May 28, 2003, proposed FMRs were due in DC by June 27, 2003. That was not much time.

The Corsicana Housing Authority's Amy Stephens, Section 8 Coordinator, did not waste that valuable time. To help her get started, the Fort Worth PH staff furnished her with database reports pulled and used for evaluation. Then Amy worked closely with HUD Economic and Market Analysis staff and submitted her comments and data to DC. The voucher holders of Corsicana were rewarded for her efforts.

October first's Federal Register published the new FY 2004 FMRs and Navarro County was one of four areas in the country whose Fair Market rents were adjusted upwards based on the active participation of the housing authority in the comment process. This increase in FMRs should decrease the rent burden for the clients and will hopefully increase the number of participating landlords, thereby enabling the Housing Authority to place more families.

Jean Cox, Executive Director of the Corsicana Housing Authority, was overjoyed when HUD staff called to inform her of the new FMRs for Navarro County.

This is proof of how partnerships between diverse HUD program areas and local housing authorities can work to achieve positives. The Corsicana Housing Authority is comparatively small. But the Housing Authority and the HUD staff were willing to 'walk that extra mile' together! Congratulations, Amy Stephens! Your hard work paid off!

Content Archived: July 22, 2011