Affordable Housing News

Get certified in fair housing online with HTVN

Posted by NMA on Nov 17, 2016 9:19:11 AM

Get certified in fair housing without leaving your desk! We're excited to announce that we are now offering NMA's fair housing and reasonable accommodation seminar through our partner in online learning, HTVN. This comprehensive fair housing online training helps you ensure that you’re applying critical fair housing laws and addressing reasonable accommodations at all program levels.

NMA's longtime partnership with HTVN offers students the opportunity to enjoy many training options and earn a Nan McKay and Associates certification upon successful completion. NMA and HTVN are the only IACET-approved training and certification companies serving the affordable housing and public housing industries, which means you get the highest quality training plus the certification to show your achievement. IACET is a nonprofit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, and is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.

Other available online NMA certifications include:

To register, go here or email sales@nanmckay.com. And don't miss this blog post with tips to help you get the most out of your online training.

Topics: fair housing, HTVN, IACET, online learning, Partnerships, reasonable accommodation, Trainers and Consultants

Get certified in rent calculation online with HTVN

Posted by NMA on Mar 17, 2016 12:27:50 PM

New for 2016 — get certified in rent calculation online without leaving your desk! We're excited to announce that we are now offering NMA's three most popular rent calculation seminars through our partner in online learning, HTVN.

Sign up now for HCV and Public Housing Rent Calculation, which is carefully designed to train combination areas together for maximum efficiency, or choose from  HCV Rent Calculation and Public Housing Rent Calculation.

NMA trainer Adam Ensalaco specializes in making rent calculation easier to understand and clearing up common misconceptions about the process. You'll get all the expert guidance you need to become a rent calculation specialist as Adam takes you through rent calculation's key principles and best practices. Learn how to:

  • Identify and calculate income from assets
  • Calculate annual and adjusted income
  • Apply the requirements for verification
  • Calculate maximum rent at initial occupancy
  • Calculate HAP and family share using the payment standard, utility allowance, and gross rent
  • Calculate prorated rent for mixed families
  • Put these principles into action with learning activities and case studies

NMA's longtime partnership with HTVN offers students the opportunity to enjoy many training options and earn a Nan McKay and Associates certification upon successful completion. NMA and HTVN are the only IACET-approved training and certification companies serving the affordable housing and public housing industries, which means you get the highest quality training plus the certification to show your achievement. IACET is a nonprofit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, and is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.

Other available online NMA certifications include:

For assistance, email sales@nanmckay.com. And don't miss this blog post with tips to help you get the most out of your online training.

Adam and other industry experts will be available for limited free one-hour Q&A sessions at the The Housing Conference this September in San Antonio, Texas. Registered participants can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis starting April 15. Register online or email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: HTVN, IACET, online learning, Partnerships, rent calculation, Trainers and Consultants

NMA's online HCV Specialist now revised and updated for 2015!

Posted by BEMuser on Sep 17, 2015 10:56:25 AM

Nan McKay and Associates and HTVN are now offering our HCV Specialist certification online. Newly updated for 2015, it includes all the latest program information, including the equal access final rule, VAWA 2013, and more. The 42-hour class is led by NMA trainer Samantha Sowards, who will guide you through key principles and best practices in the housing choice voucher program:

Upon completion of this Nan McKay certification course, learners will achieve an understanding of HUD regulations for the HCV program and how to apply those regulations in administration of the program, including how to correctly determine family eligibility for the HCV program, how to perform required occupancy activities, and how to calculate rent.

NMA's longtime partnership with HTVN offers students the opportunity to enjoy many training options and earn a Nan McKay and Associates certification upon successful completion. NMA and HTVN are the only IACET-approved training and certification companies serving the affordable housing and public housing industries, which means you get the highest quality training plus the certification to show your achievement. IACET is a nonprofit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, and is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.

Other available online NMA certifications include:

Don’t miss this upcoming session at the 2015 NMA and GoSection8 Housing Conference, where HTVN's Kristina Gumbulevich and Dave Sagers will discuss HUD's upcoming shift to a cloud-based model and how that will affect your PHA. Register online or email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: eligibility, fair housing, final rule, HTVN, IACET, occupancy, online learning, Partnerships, rent calculation, The Housing Conference, Trainers and Consultants, VAWA

NMA's online PHM certification now revised and updated for 2015!

Posted by BEMuser on Apr 24, 2015 10:02:25 AM

NMA trainer and consultant Cara Gillette will be presenting a hands-on ACOP workshop at this year's NMA Housing ConferenceDid you know you can receive an official PHM certification without leaving your desk? Nan McKay and Associates and HTVN are now offering our Public Housing Management (PHM) certification online.

Newly updated for 2015, it includes all the latest program information, including new HUD guidance on flat rent, the equal access final rule, the capital fund final rule, VAWA 2013, and more.

The 32-hour class is led by NMA senior trainer Cara Gillette, a seasoned expert in public housing management who will guide you through PHM's key principles and best practices:

Upon completion of this Nan McKay certification course, learners will understand all of the elements of public housing management and their impact on the PHA’s PHAS scores. This course covers basic public housing program information, HUD requirements for fair housing, factors of eligibility, tenant selection and wait list management, rent calculation, the occupancy cycle, resident relations strategies, managing a budget, and an overview of the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS).

NMA's longtime partnership with HTVN offers students the opportunity to enjoy many training options and earn a Nan McKay and Associates certification upon successful completion. NMA and HTVN are the only IACET-approved training and certification companies serving the affordable housing and public housing industries, which means you get the highest quality training plus the certification to show your achievement. IACET is a nonprofit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, and is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.

Other available online NMA certifications include:

For more details, email sales@nanmckay.com. And don't miss this recent blog post with tips to help you get the most out of your online training.

NMA senior associate Cara Gillette trains, consults, and provides technical assistance nationwide in fair housing, public housing management, hearings, economic self-sufficiency, and governing boards. Prior to joining NMA, she administered public housing and Section 8 waiting lists, served as hearing officer, managed public housing, and oversaw resident economic development programs at the San Diego Housing Commission. She has previously written for the NMA blog on Section 3 best practices.

Topics: capital fund, eligibility, fair housing, final rule, flat rent, HTVN, IACET, occupancy, online learning, Partnerships, PHAS, public housing management, rent calculation, Trainers and Consultants, VAWA

Get certified for housing quality standards (HQS) online!

Posted by BEMuser on Jan 28, 2015 3:33:46 PM

Jay OrtenzoDid you know that you can receive an official HQS certification without even leaving your desk? Nan McKay and Associates is now offering our Housing Quality Standards (HQS) certification online:

Upon completion of this Nan McKay certification course, learners will have the information and skills required to complete HQS inspections on vacant or occupied units to determine if units pass or fail pursuant to HQS minimum standards. The course covers the correct completion of an HQS inspection form during the inspection, how to design an upgrade to HQS when given the assignment to develop a higher reasonable standard with HUD approval, as well as lead-based paint regulations and their impact on the HCV program. In addition, HQS-related SEMAP indicators and their impact on the PHA's SEMAP score are included.

The 16-hour class is led by NMA senior trainer Jay Ortenzo, a seasoned expert in HQS inspections who will guide you through the standards in a practical and easy-to-understand format. You may also be interested in the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards certification, a 4.5-hour class in which Jay covers accessibility standards, fair housing, auditing, and compliance. Learners are taught about voluntary compliance agreement (VCA) trends, sample lawsuits, and how the Department of Justice (DOJ) is driving compliance.

Our longtime partnership with HTVN offers students the opportunity to enjoy many training options, all of which provide a Nan McKay and Associates certification upon successful completion. NMA and HTVN are the only IACET-approved training and certification companies serving the affordable housing and public housing industries, which means you get the highest quality training plus the certification to show your achievement. IACET is a nonprofit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs, and is the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for continuing education and training.

Other available online NMA certifications include:

For more details, email sales@nanmckay.com. And don't miss this recent blog post with tips to help you get the most out of your online training.

Specializing in real property services, Jay Ortenzo has been a technical trainer and consultant with Nan McKay and Associates for more than 20 years. With nearly four decades of housing experience in both public and private sectors, he develops technical training manuals and materials relating to federally subsidized programs on housing inspection, maintenance, and modernization.

Topics: fair housing, HQS, HTVN, IACET, inspections, online learning, Partnerships, public housing management, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation, SEMAP, Trainers and Consultants

6 tips for getting the most out of online learning

Posted by BEMuser on Sep 24, 2014 8:58:42 AM

Online learning offers a flexible and convenient way to learn in the place you choose on a schedule that is convenient for you. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of online learning.

Tip #1: Prepare your mind and body.

Work on your online learning when you are well rested and well nourished. If your body is tired, so is your mind. If you're hungry, you will not be as receptive to learning. Of course, it's not a good idea to work on your online learning immediately after eating a huge plate of lasagna, either. After a big heavy meal, your body spends most of its energy digesting food, which makes you feel sluggish and sleepy — so your goal here is to be not hungry, but not over-stuffed either.

Tip #2: Schedule your online learning time.

Online learning courses are generally chunked into digestible modules of about 30 minutes in duration. If you have a course that consists of forty 30-minute modules, you will probably want to break your online learning into several separate sessions on separate days. If you try to complete twenty hours of training in one session, you’ll get exhausted and you won’t get the most out of the training.

Be realistic about the time you will need for an online learning session and plan accordingly. Make sure you give yourself enough time to work through all of the material for the session and digest it.

Think of the time you have scheduled as an important meeting with yourself. Don’t allow interruptions to this meeting with yourself.

  • Ensure other people in your office are aware when you are in training and not to be interrupted.
  • Let your calls go to voice mail or have someone take messages for you.
  • Switch off email notifications so you won’t be distracted.

Tip #3: Prepare a virtual classroom for your online learning.

Work in a quiet space with no distractions. This may mean working somewhere other than your usual desk.

Most online learning provides audio. You may find that earphones/ear buds will make it easier for you to hear the audio... and they'll help block out most other noise and distractions from your environment.

If you are accessing your online learning from home, let your family and friends know you’re “in a class” and that they should not interrupt you for anything other than an extreme emergency (the house is on fire or someone is bleeding profusely).

Add a link to the online material in to your Favorites list on your web browser, so you won’t have to waste time finding the site when you get ready to access your next online learning session.

Tip #4: Increase the impact of your online learning.

Most online learning provides a quiz at the end of each module. When you finish a module, if you feel you don’t have a good grasp of the material, go through the module again before taking the quiz. This will reinforce what you have learned, and help you to score better on the quiz.

Statistics show that most people do best on a quiz if they take the quiz immediately upon finishing the material covered.

Go back through the material and look up the answers for any quiz questions you get wrong.

Some online learning allows you to retake a quiz if you don’t score well the first time. If you have this opportunity and you don’t do well on the first take of the quiz, complete the module again, and then retake the quiz. This not only improves your score, it actually reinforces what you have learned.

Tip #5: Use it so you won't lose it!

Use what you've learned! Apply new ideas and skills to your work as soon as possible.

Tip #6: Set yourself up for a successful certification exam.

If your online learning course offers a certification exam, schedule it as soon as possible after completing the course. I have found that the best time to take a certification exam online is Tuesday morning after eating a good breakfast. On Tuesday morning you’re still somewhat rested from the weekend (not burned out yet), but you are less likely to have to deal with the types of unexpected interruptions and IT emergencies that occur on Mondays.

I hope you will find these tips useful when you take online courses. One more thing — remember that when you're learning online, you're in control of the time, place, and pace of your learning, so it's up to you to make the most of it!

Gaye Walker has been an instructional designer at Nan McKay and Associates for more than a decade. She specializes in the design and development of online courses and tools that provide PHAs with flexible training options and has previously written for the NMA blog about the benefits of online learning.

Our partnership with HTVN provides students with the opportunity to enjoy many training options for both the HCV and public housing programs. Visit their website to view available classes.

Topics: HTVN, online learning, Trainers and Consultants

Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #4

Posted by NMA on Jan 15, 2013 1:59:12 PM

Tip #4: Create a caseload and accuracy plan with specific performance standards.

Your caseload and accuracy plan should provide a permanent distribution of caseloads so that staff are assigned a caseload and so that the distribution results in equal caseloads for each level of staff. The following plan also provides for a graduated caseload and accuracy plan for new employees to ramp up to a full caseload. The overall objective is to have matching, accurate data between PIC and your housing software, with no backlog in either PIC or the housing software.

Staff identified below are in Housing Specialist positions managing a caseload which they're assigned after initial lease-up through termination. They prepare the initial paperwork and data entry for moves, inspections, and rent reasonableness, but the activities for those functions are handled by other staff. Their primary responsibility is reexaminations and interim adjustments. They will also handle terminations.

The recommended annual caseload for experienced staff for reexaminations is 450. Since they don't have to handle moves, they're expected to handle up to 45 cases per month. The number of reexaminations per month may vary due to the geographical split of the caseload. Reexaminations should be assigned only to the reexamination staff, regardless of whether there's a reexamination in conjunction with a move.

This plan outlines at what point a newly hired staff person is expected to take on the full caseload.

Level 1: Initial Training Plan with Small Caseload

The first full month after hire date, the employee will be working on sample cases. During this period, they will receive additional classroom training and be paired with a more experienced staff person to assist them in completing their sample cases. Their "mentoring partner" (the more experienced staff person with whom they're paired) is allowed to assign them various duties to assist in processing their own caseload as a learning experience. These duties can include everything from observing an interview to copying paperwork. The training coordinator and the supervisor will also begin providing on-the-job training.

The new employee is assigned sample cases from a library of 30 cases. Test databases are set up for new employees to use. Each case will have housing software data entry, calculation, and forms to complete, so that the entire function is performed on each case. Answers to the case will be included. New employees work on these cases on their own, and may request assistance from the mentoring partner if they're having trouble completing the case and getting the correct answer. The employee must complete the 30 test cases at this level. Because they're for learning purposes, all cases must be completed with 100% accuracy.

Level 2: Caseload of 15

The employee will be at level 2, with a caseload of 15, for one month. During this time, the accuracy of the employee's cases will be monitored by the supervisor, and the employee will be provided with feedback and instructions on corrections where needed. An accuracy rate of 65% is required for cases completed this month. All cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment.

The mentoring partner will still be available for assistance on cases, as will the training coordinator and the computer trainer (when they're not engaged in training activities). The employee will be encouraged to complete their own active cases and assist others with their cases, participate in training, or otherwise be effectively utilized with the supervisor's direction.

Level 3: Caseload of 30

The employee will be at level 3, with a caseload of 30, for one month. The same mentoring staff will be available to assist, but the assistance required should be minimal. An accuracy rate of 80% is required for cases completed this month. At least 50% of cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment. The employee will be encouraged to complete their own cases and assist others with their cases, participate in training, or otherwise be effectively utilized with the supervisor's direction.

Level 4: Caseload of 45

After the completion of the three-month caseload schedule described above, the employee will be assigned a full caseload of 45 per month. A level of 95% accuracy at the submission of the case will be expected. An accuracy rate of 95% is required for cases completed this month. At least 50% of cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment for the first month at this level. After the first month, the employee must retain at least an average of 95% accuracy.

Accelerated Caseloads

If, in the supervisor's and employee's determination, the employee can handle an increased caseload during any period above, additional cases may be assigned to the employee. The employee may also act as a mentor to other new staff.

Certification

The employee will complete either a Housing Specialist class encompassing eligibility, rent calculations, and occupancy, or the employee may be assigned to complete online classes on these subjects. The employee must then achieve a passing score of 80% on the Housing Specialist test, either in the classroom or online, to continue employment. One test retake will be allowed within 45 days of the Housing Specialist test. This certification must be achieved by the end of level 2.

Case Assignment

Caseload assignment will be done by the (specify a position here). Only supervisors will be allowed to change a caseload assignment and must justify any changes each month.

Regular cases will be distributed by zip codes by team. Within the team, the supervisor assigns cases with the objective of complying with caseload levels identified above, and with the goal in mind of achieving a nearly equal staff caseload within each level.

Backlog cases older than three months will generally be assigned to level 4 staff as needed, and will be nearly equally distributed to this group of staff. Backlog cases due within the prior three months will be assigned to level 3 staff and above as needed.

Cases in housing software but not PIC will be assigned to PIC staff or to the supervisor to resolve. A supervisor will be assigned the responsibility of ensuring that these cases are completed in a timely manner. The most likely reason for cases to be in this category is that "hold" codes have not been resolved. If the family is no longer on the program, there must be an End of Participation (EOP) entered in PIC. If the family has decided not to move and has stayed in the same unit, or if the family has moved to another unit, the "hold" code will be removed and any required updating to the record will be completed.

Correction of Quality-Controlled Cases

The employee is responsible for correcting all mistakes in his/her quality-controlled files within three business days after the notification of the errors.

Next: Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #5

While serving as executive director of a Minnesota housing authority, Nan McKay started one of the nation’s first Section 8 programs. The agency was subsequently honored with a HUD award as one of 13 outstanding Section 8 programs in the country.

Founder and president of Nan McKay and Associates, she has devoted the past two years to redesigning NMA’s HCV Executive Management course, as well as rewriting the HCV Executive Management Master Book with Bill Caltabiano. The tips and systems described above are thoroughly explored in both, with many forms available on a CD.

Did you know that NMA is the only IACET-approved training and certification company serving the affordable housing industry? Read more on our website.

Topics: eligibility, executive management, Executive Team, IACET, IMS/PIC, occupancy, online learning, quality control, rent calculation

What's so great about online learning?

Posted by NMA on Sep 6, 2012 10:57:19 AM

Gaye WalkerBenefit #1: Flexibility.

Online learning, sometimes called e-learning, offers many advantages for both students and teachers. It's been embraced by schools and universities, retail chains, top corporations, and among professional trainers. The most obvious benefit of online training is its flexibility, which allows learners 24/7 access from anywhere with an Internet connection. Online learning providers can offer timely, focused courses that enable students to fit learning time into their schedules without taking time away from work for travel.

Benefit #2: No travel time.

Time is probably the greatest limitation on learning. In a traditional classroom or seminar, both instructors and students must commit to spending a specific amount of time at a specific location, and they must both spend time traveling to arrive at  that location. E-learning courses can be developed by the instructor anywhere, at any time, made available online, and accessed by the learner anywhere, at a convenient time and duration... and no one has to spend time traveling.

Benefit #3: No travel expenses.

In a traditional classroom or seminar, both students and instructors must spend money traveling to a specific location, and may also have the expense of hotels for overnight stays, meals in restaurants, and other travel expenses. Online learning is available 24/7, from any computer, and involves absolutely no travel costs. (Another way to cut back on travel costs is onsite training, where you bring the training directly to your PHA and also enjoy the advantages of customized learning.)

Benefit #4: Self-paced learning.

Online learning allows students to schedule time for learning around their personal and professional work, resulting in flexible learning. It's also self-paced, which allows the learner to move quickly through material that comes easily, then spend more time on demanding material. It's easy to jump back and review earlier lessons, or consult resources (such as a glossary or reference document) when necessary.

In a traditional classroom, if a student gets distracted or misses something the teacher said, one of two things will happen. The student will ask a question and the teacher will stop, go back, and reiterate, delaying the rest of the class; or the student won't ask the question and therefore will not receive the full benefit of the instruction.

When a student gets distracted during online training, it's easy to go back and repeat that section again. It's a lot like skipping back to the part of the movie you missed when you had to get up and answer the doorbell.

Benefit #5: Immediate feedback.

E-learning uses interactive exercises and online quizzes to reinforce learning and provide immediate feedback for students. Most online learning allows the student to repeat all or part of a course if they feel they haven't grasped the material fully. In many cases, upon scoring poorly, learners are encouraged to repeat portions of the material, then retake the quiz or other evaluation to reinforce the material and achieve a better score. Students can also self-evaluate their learning, using immediate feedback to identify the concepts they failed to grasp, then reviewing or repeating those parts of the course.

Benefit #6: Development/reinforcement of computer skills.

Online learning helps develop and sharpen computer skills, using technologies that are vital for success in the 21st century. These skills are transferable to other areas of learners' personal and professional lives. Successful completion of online courses builds self-knowledge and self-confidence and encourages students to take responsibility for their learning.

Gaye Walker has been an instructional designer at Nan McKay and Associates for more than a decade. She specializes in the design and development of online courses and tools that provide PHAs with flexible training options.

Our partnership with HTVN provides students with the opportunity to enjoy many training options for both the Section 8/HCV and public housing programs. Visit their website to view available classes.

Topics: HTVN, online learning, onsite training, Trainers and Consultants

Subscribe to our blog via email!

The Housing Conference

Posts by Topic

see all