Project-based vouchers are increasingly popular at housing authorities as an incentive to draw rental property owners into the program, as well as provide a housing subsidy to service providers that work with special needs populations such as homeless persons, disabled persons, or those in substance abuse recovery.
Because of the nature of some of the population that utilizes project-based vouchers, there's a significantly higher turnover of participants/residents living in the assisted units. This turnover creates additional administrative workload for the PHA, without any additional financial resources to add staff to handle the turnover.
As a result, some PHAs have begun to require project owners or sponsors to provide some or all of the administrative tasks associated with the PBV program. Most, if not all, welcome these tasks, because it can provide them with more control over the process. In some cases, the PHA shares or passes along the admin fee to defray the costs of administration.
In formal solicitations, the willingness to administer some or all of the administrative tasks is often one of the evaluation criteria used in the proposal process the PHA uses to award contracts for project-based vouchers.
If your agency decides to outsource admin tasks to owners or sponsors, there are several factors which should be carefully considered:
- Your PHA remains fully responsible for compliance with HUD regulations and requirements.
- It's imperative that project owners or sponsors have well-trained staff who understand the assigned tasks (eligibility, income, assets, deductions, rent portion calculation, inspectors, rent reasonableness, data transmission) and the various reporting deadlines that your agency must follow.
- Your housing authority must perform monitoring of the tasks assigned to the project owners or sponsors. When HUD staff schedule monitoring reviews or program audits, your agency will be expected to have full knowledge of the site operations and work completed by the project owner or sponsor. Any errors or failure to complete tasks will become your responsibility to explain and rectify.
Common errors reported by PHAs that have passed administrative tasks to project owners or sponsors include:
- HQS violations
- Lack of rent reasonableness data
- Inadequate documentation
- Calculation errors
- Incorrect reporting
- Late reporting
- Transmission errors to the PHA
- High staff turnover at sites, resulting in untrained staff doing the admin work, or the work not being completed at all
An operational plan is highly recommended. Your plan should include an agreement with the project owner or sponsor that clearly describes:
- Tasks to be completed by the owner/sponsor
- The staff member, by position, who will be your point of contact
- Specific forms to be used
- Full training plan, including updates and refresher training
- Scheduled onsite reviews by PHA staff
- Unscheduled visits to the site for spot checks
Along with regular monitoring, an operational plan will greatly improve your agency's success rate in offloading some of the administrative burden associated with the PBV program.
With over 30 years of experience in the affordable housing industry, VP of Professional Services Carrol Vaughan ensures that NMA continues to help PHAs better serve their communities. To learn more about outsourcing administrative tasks for your PBV program, contact email@example.com.