COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Public Hearing on Albemarle County’s Plan for Administering Housing Choice Vouchers

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Annual Plan

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, White, Davis, White

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

April 12, 2006

 

ACTION:     X                         INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:                               INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:     Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

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 the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program.  The Office of Housing is a part of the executive branch of local government and not a public housing authority.  However, with respect to the program, the Office of Housing 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.  Last year a 5-year Plan and Annual Plan was submitted to and approved by HUD.  In each year covered by the 5-year Plan, a PHA is required to submit an Annual Plan to HUD for approval.  Prior to submission, the Plan must be made available for a 45-day public review period and also be the subject of a public hearing.

STRATEGIC PLAN:

The submission of an Annual Plan is required to continue the program.  This program is a critical component of addressing housing affordability issues for very low-income renters who can not otherwise afford fair market rents.

 

DISCUSSION:

The program administered by Albemarle County provides rental assistance to approximately 420 families.  Over the past five years, the Office of Housing has recommended and HUD has approved minor revisions to program operations.  These include setting a preference for families who live and/or work in Albemarle County and establishing a minimum tenant payment of $50/month.  In addition, the ability to allocate project-based vouchers (vouchers designated to specific units rather than individual families) was requested and approved.  Up to 15% of available vouchers may be used for this purpose.  Currently 24 project-based vouchers are allocated to Park’s Edge Apartments and 12 have been committed to Park View on South Pantops.

 

The program is currently operating at approximately 90% of capacity with at least 30 families having been issued vouchers that are seeking housing.  Part of the reason for the lease-up rate (capacity) being lower than desired is the fact that staff is more aggressive in finding program misuse or abuse.  In such cases, it often takes a couple months to investigate and terminate assistance and an additional three to four months to issue the available voucher to someone else.  Another  issue impacting the lease-up rate is the inability of voucher holders to find housing that can be approved under the program.  It is also becoming more frequent that voucher holders are turned down due to lack of sufficient income, credit history, and past rental references.  Although these issues exist, we do not see any reason to change the existing Annual Plan nor have any recommendations been brought forward by the Resident Advisory Board or the Housing Committee.  Therefore, the proposed Annual Plan to be submitted to HUD is unchanged from the current year’s Plan.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

There is no additional budget impact beyond the annual appropriations from the general fund budget that support the operations of the Office of Housing.  The majority of staffing and operations costs are covered by fees from HUD for the administration of the program.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff requests that the Board of Supervisors conduct a public hearing on the Housing Choice Voucher Program Annual Plan to obtain any additional input from the public.  Staff also requests the Board to authorize the County Executive to execute the attached Certifications of Compliance for submission with the Plan.

 

ATTACHMENTS

2006 Housing Choice Voucher Annual Plan

PHA Certifications of Compliance

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