COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Public Hearing on Albemarle Countyís Plan for Administering Housing Choice Vouchers
Housing Choice Voucher Program 2005-09 Five-Year Plan and 2005 Annual Plan
Tucker; Roxanne White; Davis; Ron White
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
April 20, 2005
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The Albemarle County Office of Housing is the designated local agency for the administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (hereinafter referred to as the program), formerly known as Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. The Office is a part of the executive branch of local government and not a public housing authority. However, with respect to the program, the Office must comply with requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding activities as a Public Housing Agency (PHA) including the development of a 5-year PHA Plan and Annual Plans.
The Office of Housing last submitted a Five-Year Plan July 2001 for FY 2000-2004 and an Annual Plan every year thereafter. The next Five-Year Plan covers fiscal years 2005 to 2009.
Goal 3.2: Promote a variety of safe, sanitary and affordable housing types.
The Annual Plan provides an outline for the implementation of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, including information on current needs from the Consolidated Plan for the Thomas Jefferson HOME Consortium, the makeup of the Countyís existing waiting list, and the proposed funding available for activities during the program year. Much of the Plan is developed based on federal requirements with little or no opportunity for local discretion, although the County does have options in areas of setting preferences and minimum tenant rents. The County currently provides preference for those applicants who live and/or work in Albemarle County. The Countyís current minimum tenant rent is $25/month, but this plan proposes raising the minimum to $50/month, the maximum allowed by HUD. All tenants are required to pay thirty percent (30%) of their income toward housing costs. The minimum tenant rent only impacts those with little or no income or, in some cases, the elderly on fixed incomes with high medical costs.
The proposed change to minimum tenant rent is a result of changes to HUDís funding for the program. Prior to calendar year 2005, HUD provided a reimbursement based on the actual cost of assistance. For this year, and the current proposal for next year, HUD provides a fixed budget that the County must manage to insure maximum utilization of funds without exceeding the annual budget. The result of this change is that fewer families will be served as rents increase and/or more lower-income families seek assistance. The increase in the minimum tenant rent could provide savings sufficient to help one or two additional families.
In addition to revisions to program funding, HUD did not renew the grant that paid for a Family Self-sufficiency Coordinator. As a result, that position has been eliminated in the Office of Housing reducing staffing to eight persons.
The Plan has been available in the Office of Housing for a 45-day review period. The Housing Committee members have received a copy of the Plan and the Planís Executive Summary. At their March meeting, they endorsed the Plan as proposed. Any comments received during the public review period and comments received at the public
hearing will be included as a part of the final submission to HUD along with action taken on the comments.
Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors conduct a public hearing for input on the proposed Housing Choice Voucher Five-Year and Annual Plan. Staff also recommends that the Board authorize the County Executive to sign the PHA Certifications of Compliance as part of the Plan submission.