Affordable Housing News

Preventing Shortfall: Lessons Learned

Posted by NMA on Sep 1, 2016 2:27:29 PM

NMA's Steven Rosario will lead a session on preventing shortfall in the housing choice voucher program

In his current role as HCV program director, NMA's Steven Rosario oversees the operations of Miami-Dade County’s housing choice voucher program. He previously served as director of some of the largest voucher programs in the nation, administering more than 45,000 vouchers in Chicago and San Francisco.

With extensive experience in program and project designs, Steven is a high-energy, fiscally conscious, and goal-driven leader who has earned a reputation for building and leading strong and collaborative team efforts. He approaches each new challenge with a flair for innovation, creative problem-solving, and measured risk-taking to drive positive change in affordable housing programs. Steven will be presenting the following session at The Housing Conference.

Executive Leadership for Performance Excellence

Preventing Shortfall: Lessons Learned
Presenter, Steven Rosario

Housing authorities have historically been challenged with maximizing utilization without going over budget authority. This session will cover various funding scenarios and highlight the pitfalls that may result in a program shortfall. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Program reserves: How much should you keep?
  • PHA vs. HUD held reserves
  • Disbursements vs. budget authority
  • Prior calendar year HAP payments
  • Cash vs. accrual accounting
  • VMS updates
  • Utilizing results of 2-year tool
  • Impact of the PUC

The session will provide you with the guidance to ensure a PHA’s financial and program operations teams are tracking, updating, and reporting accurate and meaningful data. Along with this, the session will provide PHA with strategies on working with HUD’s shortfall prevention team.

The Housing Conference, presented by NMA and HAI Group, will spotlight three tracks: an executive track, a regulatory track, and a best practices track. Go here to view a list of the session descriptions that have been published so far.

Topics: executive management, Executive Team, financial management, HCV utilization, The Housing Conference, VMS

RAD: Post-Closing Operational Transition for PBV

Posted by NMA on Jun 24, 2016 10:43:22 AM

Jennifer Green of the Indianapolis Housing Agency, speaking on the RAD panel at The Housing Conference

With more than three decades of experience in affordable housing development, Cindi Herrera currently leads the Rental Assistance Demonstration team at NMA, completing relocation of nearly 4,000 households to date under the federal Uniform Relocation Act. She has served as an executive in various PHAs and as president and CEO of a large nonprofit affordable housing development and management company. Cindi will be presenting the following session at The Housing Conference in San Antonio this September.

Regulatory Knowledge for Smart Management

RAD: Post-Closing Operational Transition for PBV
Presenter, Cindi Herrera

Submitting an application to the Rental Assistance Demonstration and getting through a CHAP (commitment to enter into a housing assistance payments contract) is a long, arduous process. Now that you've been approved — or are waiting for approval — what's next? This session will focus on the operational tasks necessary to successfully complete the transition from public housing operating subsidy to project-based vouchers under RAD.

Participants will work through a checklist of post-closing procedures, including the process and timing for completing EOP (end of participation) in public housing, new admission and first recertification requirements for HCV, phase-in of rent increases, what to do when the tenant rent is greater than the contract rent, RAD rehab assistance payment procedures, capital and RHH fund budget revisions, transfer of public housing operating reserves, establishment of rehab and replacement reserves, tenant protection rights, accounting for HAP subsidy in year one, VMS reporting in year one, and more.

Register online or email for more information. Don't delay, less than a week left for early bird pricing! Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to reserve a free, one-hour Q&A session with one of our NMA experts before they're all gone.

Topics: PBV, Program News and Notices, RAD, The Housing Conference, VMS

HUD issues notice on administrative fee reserves

Posted by NMA on Oct 8, 2015 2:58:19 PM

This week HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2015-17 to provide guidance to PHAs on the use and reporting of administrative fee reserves, or unrestricted net position (UNP) accounts. The seven-page notice reissues with minor revisions Notice PIH 2010-7, providing updated guidance on the reporting of admin fee reserves and use of reserves when faced with insufficient funding. The new notice responds to recommendations by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to implement controls and requires reconciliations of UNP. Below is a summary of the major differences:

  • In terms of background, the new notice references the requirements to maintaining UNP, rather than UNA accounts. On an annual basis, PHAs credit to the UNP the total of: (1) The difference between program admin fees and program admin expenses for the fiscal year; plus (2) The net of revenue and expenses related to the administration of unabsorbed portability units; plus (3) Interest and other income earned on the investment of admin fee reserves; plus (4) The portion of fraud recoveries actually collected that flows to the admin fee reserves; plus (5) Any other miscellaneous admin revenues or equity transfers to the HCV admin fee reserve; minus (6) Any expenditures from the reserve account to cover excess HAP costs not covered by HAP funding and HAP reserves or other allowed uses of admin reserves.
  • Regarding use of administrative fees, the notice clarifies that if a surplus of administrative fees remains at the end of the PHA’s fiscal year (FY), the amount by which the program admin fees paid by HUD for the FY exceeded the PHA’s HCV administrative expenses for the FY is added to the admin fee reserves.
  • No substantive changes were made to the sections regarding pre-2004 and post-2003 admin fee reserves.
  • In terms of the general depository agreement, the new notice clarifies that form HUD-51999 must be executed between the PHA and the depository, and must include all deposit account numbers in which HCV program funds are held.
  • For reporting requirements, the new notice clarifies that PHAs must report post-2003 admin fee reserves separately from pre-2004 reserves on the FDS income statement in the details of the line 11170 memo account, and that specific FDS detail lines for pre-2004 and post-2003 admin fee reserves have been added to the FASS-PH system for the HCV program. These new line items must be completed and can be found in the detail link of FDS line 11170 on the income statement tab of the HCV program. As currently programmed, these lines must also include amounts associated with FDS line 508.4, Net Investments in Capital Assets. In a future FASS-PH release, FDS line 11170 will distinguish admin fee reserves and net investment in capital assets that will reconcile to FDS line 512.4, UNP.
  • The new notice also states that UNP must be reported in VMS on a monthly basis in the field currently titled Unrestricted Net Assets (UNA) as of the Last Day of the Month, which will be changed in a coming VMS release to reflect the new language. Further, the new notice lists exactly what the UNP reported in the VMS should consist of, in addition to clarifying that excess admin fee disbursements from HUD are not added into the UNP on a monthly basis because these amounts to not become “unrestricted” until the end of the FY. During the FY, admin fee disbursements may only be used to cover current year admin expenses.
  • The notice states that if a PHA has to dip into the UNP to cover excess admin expenses, it still may not increase the UNP during the FY by adding in excess current year admin fees in later months, even if the UNP balance remains below the previous FYE balance. Overall excess admin expenses may decrease the UNP from month to month during the FY, but excess admin fee disbursements from HUD should not generally increase the UNP from month to month during the FY. Only fraud recovery, port-in, interest, or other non-HUD revenue may increase the UNP from month to month during the FY.
  • In terms of use of HAP funds, the new notice states that restricted net position (RNP) is reported in VMS in the field currently titled Net Restricted Assets as of the Last Day of the Month (likewise to be updated), and that RNP is the amount reported on the FDS balance sheet at line 511.4. The notice also lists what RNP should consist of as reported in VMS, and notes that as of January 1, 2012, interest earned on HAP and HAP investments was no longer a part of the RNP. As of January 1, 2014, the PHA may retain up to $500 in interest earned on HAP and HAP investments, but those funds are to be recorded and reported as administrative revenue flowing to the UNP.

No substantive changes were made regarding sanctions, however the new notice does state that the Quality Assurance Division (QAD) will continue to conduct on-site and remote reviews of PHA financial reporting and recording, and that incorrect reporting and recording will result in review concerns or findings for which corrective action plans must be developed by the PHA.

NMA offers two HCV finance classes: HCV Financial Management, with upcoming dates in Dallas and Cleveland, and HCV Financial Accounting and Reporting, with upcoming dates in Las Vegas, Louisville, and Seattle. Not sure which one to take? Email for further guidance.

Topics: FASS-PH, financial management, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, VMS

HCV funding disbursements for February and March 2015

Posted by BEMuser on Jan 26, 2015 11:29:27 AM

HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD) recently sent a letter to PHA executive directors describing the calculation and disbursement of renewal funding for February and March. The allocation of HAP renewal funds for calendar year (CY) 2015 has not yet been determined pending completion of Voucher Management System (VMS) data entry for CY 2014. February and March disbursements are based upon each PHA’s CY 2014 prorated renewal eligibility.

As explained in the letter:

  • February and March disbursements were determined on the basis of PHA-reported HAP expenses for November 2014, the most recent month of validated VMS data.
  • CY 2015 allocations will be calculated and communicated to PHAs before calculation of the obligation for April 2015.

To receive updates and analysis on the latest PIH news, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking news and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals.

Topics: financial management, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, VMS

HCV program: Get ready for 2015

Posted by BEMuser on Jan 15, 2015 1:06:33 PM

Last week HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) sent out a letter to PHA executive directors to help them plan their 2015 budgets for the housing choice voucher (HCV) program. The letter provides important information and guidance about budgeting for next year. Below are just a few highlights:

  • Calendar year (CY) 2015 voucher renewal funding will be based on housing assistance payment (HAP) expenses for CY 2014.
  • January 22 is the deadline for reporting all CY 2014 leasing and housing assistance payments (HAP) expenses in the Voucher Management System (VMS).
  • PHAs should review Notice PIH 2013-28, which provides guidance on the use of outside sources of funds for HAP expenses.
  • HUD does not plan to offset excess funds this year, so PHAs will receive their full allocation.
  • Administrative fees for January and February have been advanced based on the most recently validated eligibility at a proration of 74 percent.

To receive updates and analysis on the latest PIH news, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking news and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals.

Topics: financial management, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, VMS

Government shutdown: What you need to know

Posted by BEMuser on Oct 1, 2013 9:23:24 AM

Many PHAs are asking, "What does the shutdown mean to our agency and the families we serve?" Yesterday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted a 67-page contingency plan which provides some guidance to PHAs on the impacts of a lapse in appropriations due to the federal government shutdown.

According to the contingency plan, PHAs will continue to be able to access HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) secure systems, such as the Voucher Management System (VMS), the PIH Information Center (PIC) system, the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system, and the Line of Credit Control Systems (LOCCS), among others. However, although HUD's PIH systems will be largely available, PIH staff and contractors will not be available to answer questions regarding the systems. RAD applications will continue to be accepted, but they will not be reviewed until after the shutdown.

HCV housing assistance payments and administrative fee funding for the month of October are scheduled to be disbursed to PHAs according to the regular schedule, but any November funding is contingent upon the outcome of the government shutdown. Any public housing operating subsidy or capital funds that have already been obligated through LOCCS can be drawn down, but additional funding is also contingent on the shutdown. As a result of the funding uncertainty, PHAs should carefully monitor their financial situations throughout the government shutdown.

  • PIH staff will not be attending any meetings or conducting monitoring or technical assistance visits at PHAs
  • REAC inspections will not be conducted
  • PIH staff will not be available to answer any non-emergency questions from PHAs, residents, or others
  • Contact information for PIH emergency operations during the government shutdown will be posted on the HUD website

For further details on the portion of the contingency plan that concerns programs administered by PIH, see pages 7 and 57–63. NMA will continue to update the blog as more information on the government shutdown becomes available.

Topics: appropriations, EIV, government shutdown, IMS/PIC, LOCCS, Program News and Notices, RAD, VMS

Meet me in San Diego

Posted by NMA on Aug 14, 2013 11:45:58 AM

John McKayI think we can all agree that the past year has been one of the most challenging in recent memory. Up until the last moment, many of us didn't really think that sequestration would go through. But it did, and our nation's housing authorities rose to the test.

For the upcoming NMA Housing Conference and GoSection8 User Conference, we've brought together a diverse group of speakers and industry experts to provide insight on a broad range of topics relevant to those of us facing budget cutbacks under sequestration, including:

2013 NMA Housing Conference

I hope you'll be able to attend the inaugural NMA Housing Conference, now only a few weeks away — and when you do, come on up and say hi! I look forward to sharing strategies for success.

John McKay has been with NMA since 1998, and has served as chief executive officer of the company since 2007. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was vice president of operations, spearheading the creation of the new consulting and technology services departments. This initiative introduced the first fully functional NMA Performance Portal to the affordable housing market.

Mr. McKay brings his knowledge of housing regulations and industry best practices into his role as project executive on many of NMA’s contracts with large housing authority clients and HUD. He has assessed, analyzed, and provided feedback to some of the country’s most well-run private and public organizations.

Topics: EIV, Executive Team, GoSection8, IMS/PIC, NMA Performance Portal, rent reasonableness, sequestration, sustainable communities, The Housing Conference, VMS

Join NMA for our national housing conference in San Diego

Posted by NMA on Mar 12, 2013 10:10:44 AM

Registration for the first-ever NMA Housing Conference is now open, and session information has been announced.

2013 NMA Housing Conference
and GoSection8 User Conference

September 9–10 in San Diego, CA

Sign up now and receive 20% off Blended Occupancy Management and HCV Program Management!

Choose one of these new certification classes to attend directly following the conference, and make it a complete week of learning in beautiful San Diego on the bay.

Visit our website to register

With four tracks of concurrent sessions, you'll enjoy the opportunity to explore two very full days of expert panels, round-table discussions, free consulting, and networking with key players in the industry. You'll also receive a certificate of achievement for attending an entire track (choose from executive, regulatory, financial, and GoSection8).

Keynote Speaker

Leading at a Higher Level: Creating High-Performing Organizations
Presenter, Ann Phillips of the Ken Blanchard Companies

Executive Leadership for Performance Excellence

Ensuring the Best Performance for the Money: Quality Assurance from the Executive Level
Presenters, John McKay, Dorian Jenkins, Michael Petragallo, Andrew Denicola

This session will focus on how successful housing executives ensure excellent staff performance and the overall cost efficiency of their agency by applying performance management metrics and a proactive quality assurance approach. We will discuss methods to ensure staff performance, covering all personnel from line staff to finance and inspection, as well as provide information about cost-saving measures to take back to your agency.

Managing a Public Agency with a Corporate Sector Approach
Presenter, Cydney Jones

Applying private sector techniques to your agency doesn't have to mean losing focus of its social mission. This informative session will provide PHA leaders with tools and insight to develop an organizational culture of performance excellence, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and organizational sustainability. The session will provide tips, tools, and guidance used in the corporate sector to develop and maintain high performance and fiscal prudence within the public sector environment.

How to Improve the Quality and Value of Your Services at a Reduced Cost
Presenter, Mark Frater, President, LeanFirm

Attend this session and learn how to employ a collaborative methodology at your housing authority by adopting lean principles. Discussion topics will include developing a highly effective path to maximizing the talents and contributions of your agency, facilitating motivation, productivity, customer satisfaction, and fiscal control. In today's era of budget cuts, it's more important than ever to improve the timeliness and quality of services throughout your housing agency by eliminating waste and inefficiency.

Don't Waste Strategy Time on Goal Setting!
Presenter, Eric Kaufmann, President, Sagatica LLC

Most strategy sessions are merely operational — a missed leadership opportunity. Eric Kaufmann guides leadership teams across the country and coaches corporate CEOs. He will present the way to prepare a strategic action plan that becomes a useful resource to accomplish your agency’s goals within limited funding. You will discover the six deadly mistakes of strategy planning. Ask the right questions, set the right measurements, and get to work!

PHA Resiliency in the Post-Sequestration World
Presenter, Kevin Sheriff, ERS Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP

This session will explore the short- and long-term future of PHAs' roles in their communities and how they can survive and thrive in the face of dwindling federal resources and ongoing chatter about consolidation. We will discuss strategies that PHAs can explore beyond the traditional methods (e.g. mixed finance, alternative revenue-generating activities, energy performance contracts) to recast their organizations for sustainable, long-term success.

Regulatory Knowledge for Smart Management

Why Your Agency Should Be Taking a Second Look at RAD
Presenter, Carrol Vaughan

The RAD demonstration program is a unique opportunity for housing authorities to convert their at-risk public housing to long-term Section 8 rental assistance contracts. In this session, we’ll cover the latest information on the program and discuss why your housing authority should take a serious look at whether RAD would work for your agency. We’ll also hear from staff at a large housing authority on why their agency is considering submitting an application, and review the thought process involved in making the decision to apply.

Legislative Update
Presenter, Nan McKay and Terry Provance

What's the latest news in the industry? In this session we'll review the most important notices released in 2013, any breaking news that you need to be aware of, and what we see coming down the pipe for 2014.

Fair Housing/Civil Rights Reviews: Are You Prepared?
Presenter, Annie Stevenson

Using HUD’s civil rights review checklist, we’ll discuss fair housing requirements for the public housing and HCV programs. Topics will include limited English proficiency (LEP), reasonable accommodations, alternative communication methods, and more. Don’t miss this opportunity to prepare for civil rights monitoring.

EIV, PIC, VMS: Are These Systems Costing Your Agency Money?
Presenters, Dorian Jenkins and Raymond Buhr

In this session, NMA staff will go over HUD's reporting requirements and provide tips to help your agency properly utilize Enterprise Income Verification (EIV), maximize your PIH Information Center (PIC) reporting rate, simplify the Voucher Management System (VMS), and ensure you aren't losing precious housing dollars.

Sustainability: Cost-Effective Renovation
Presenter, Jay Ortenzo

Are you tired of hearing phrases like, “We have to do more with less”? Truth is, we have to plan and be smart about the way we use our resources. While there’s always a cost associated with any renovation we do, labor, materials, overhead, profit, bad design, poor product choice, and installation mistakes cost your agency more than necessary. This session will focus on how to ensure you're getting the best renovation work for the money.

Financial Strategy for Maximizing Resources

The Impact of the Treasury's Cash Management Requirements on the HCV Program
Presenter, Ray Adair

This session will explain the impact that the implementation of the Treasury's cash management requirements will have on HCV housing assistance payment (HAP) revenue recognition, the formation of the HCV program reserve, net restricted assets (NRA) reporting, and interest earned on invested NRA balances.

Reporting Public Housing Operating Fund Activity on the FDS
Presenter, Ron Urlaub

This session will cover how new public housing and mixed-finance projects are created in the Financial Data Schedule (FDS), general project-level reporting for both conventional public housing projects and mixed-finance projects, and common public housing operating fund reporting issues on the FDS.

Using HUD's Two-Year Forecasting Tool for HAP Expense Planning
Presenter, Ray Adair

HUD has developed an Excel forecasting tool (posted with a user guide on the HCV home page) to assist PHAs in the financial management of the HCV program. The focus of this session will be on reviewing the funding available to support HAP (annual budget authority, net restricted assets, program reserves, and unrestricted net assets) and how to make the best use of the two-year forecasting tool. We will review the major sections of the tool, as well as what data is needed to use the tool and where to find it. In addition, you will learn how to use the tool to run "what if" scenarios, and how to use the tool's dashboard to determine whether leasing is within available funding.

FASS-PH System Updates
Presenter, Ray Adair

This session will explain the recent and planned REAC Financial Assessment System for public housing agencies (FASS-PH) system updates that impact financial reporting on the Financial Data Schedule (FDS) for both the public housing and HCV programs.

Reconciling VMS Reporting to the FDS
Presenter, Ron Urlaub

This session will review which fields on the Voucher Management System (VMS) are expected to tie or come close to the values reported on the Financial Data Schedule (FDS).

The Ins and Outs of CFP Reporting and Close-Out
Presenter, Ray Adair

This session will focus on how budget line items (BLI) are used for budgetary control of the Capital Fund Program (CFP), CFP eligible and ineligible expenses, Financial Data Schedule (FDS) reporting of the CFP and the Capital Fund Financing Program at the project level, and CFP close-out.

How Go8's Technology Can Be a Cost-Saving Resource for Your Agency

Introduction to GoSection8
GoSection8 is the largest rental-listing service for the Section 8 housing market. We service families, landlords, and public housing agencies across the United States. Hundreds of thousands of tenants and landlords nationwide benefit from our programs.

Don't Spend Money on Software: We Have the Solution
In an environment of eminent budget cuts, learn how Go8's free listing service can save you time and money.

GoSection8 Software Demonstration
Since our inception in 2004, GoSection8 (Go8) has been an effective resource for housing agencies across the country. Our software streamlines the rent reasonable process, automatically integrating comparable data and generating HUD-compliant rent reasonable reports. Go8 will save your staff valuable time, eliminating the need for mining data or contracting with an outside vendor to purchase comparables.

Best Practices of Different-Size Agencies and Their Savings with Go8 Software
A detailed study of various-sized agencies with different asking rents, approved rents, and annual savings received by implementing the Go8 software. We offer an audit-proven and efficient way to determine rent reasonableness as required by HUD.

The Growth of Technology and Its Impact on Rent Determination
Go8 offers on-demand mobile applications and software integration. Users can perform rent reasonable comparisons on-site, in real time, using their current housing software — no need to log into your Go8 account.

How to Focus on Landlord Retention and Participation: Why It's Important in This Economy and with Budget Cuts
Landlord outreach and participation are more important than ever. We will discuss current market trends and automated marketing solutions and review Go8's HCV Landlord Participation Index.

Educate Your Staff: How to Do Certifications, Review Annual Savings, and Analyze Reports
Learn how Go8 can help your agency do more with less effort. This training module will ensure you are maximizing the Go8 software and performing rent reasonable determinations correctly.

How to Get the Most out of Your Go8 Software: Review New Features, Upgrades, and Reports
Find out about Go8's newest features and give us your feedback. We have been busy building new improvements to our site to make the user experience even better.

Customized Search Results for Your Families Based on Their Income and Your Jurisdiction
Go8's affordability calculator tailors search results based on a family's income, using payment standards and the landlord's utility schedule.

Deconcentration and Its Impact on Rent Reasonableness
Learn how to improve your agency's SEMAP scores. Go8's listings can be customized to exclude HUD-determined low-income qualified census tracks.

Are You Using Asking Rents or Actual Rents? How It Affects the Open Market
We will demonstrate the surprising difference between asking rent and actual rent.

Go8's Custom Listing Service
We manage and maintain your landlord's listings and also offer a mobile platform to view tenant leads.

Registrations for the NMA Housing Conference and GoSection8 User Conference are now 20% off when you register before July 15, 2013. Sign up online or email for more information.

Topics: blended occupancy, capital fund, EIV, executive management, fair housing, FASS-PH, GoSection8, IMS/PIC, mixed financing, program management, Program News and Notices, RAD, rent reasonableness, sequestration, sustainable communities, The Housing Conference, VMS

Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #13

Posted by NMA on Jan 31, 2013 9:19:34 AM

Tip #13: Ensure effective program utilization.

To review, in the first five tips, we covered ways to define and communicate your agency's goals and how you plan to get there:

Next, we talked about how to monitor results:

Then, we discussed how a manager can set up a leadership system with an emphasis on production, accuracy, and customer service:

Now, let's look at the final piece of the performance puzzle — how to ensure effective program utilization.

In the past, HCV finance directors managed the HCV money and told the HCV managers when and how many families to lease. That system worked fine when agencies were financed in units, not dollars. HUD used to allocate funding by bedroom size, and that drove the leasing activities. When HUD moved to dollar funding and total baseline units, the role of the HCV manager had to change internally within the agency. As a result, finance and HCV management are now interdependent.

Today, housing choice voucher managers must have a basic understanding of not only how the HCV program is financed and the corresponding funding and leasing requirements, but also how to use tools to track, monitor, and forecast lease-up and the status of funding dollars. HCV managers need to understand budgeted vs. actual PUCs (per unit costs). The HCV manager should understand restricted net assets and unrestricted net assets. And since fees are earned by units leased, the HCV manager must also understand the administrative fee budget, and be capable of monitoring fee earnings vs. administrative expenses.

Program utilization is usually considered to be the responsibility of the HCV manager. However, without access to financial information, it's impossible to manage to both baseline units and dollars. As HUD ties funding tighter and tighter to the Voucher Management System (VMS), the HCV manager must fully understand how to utilize and analyze the VMS reporting results.

Next: Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #14

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.

Nan McKay and Associates provides training and consulting solutions to improve your PHA's program utilization, including compliance assessments, onsite lease-up, and program management. You can also schedule a SEMAP and Program Utilization workshop for your agency. Contact for details.

Topics: compliance assessments, executive management, Executive Team, financial management, HCV utilization, onsite lease-up, program management, SEMAP, supervision, VMS

How to maximize your agency's HCV performance rating: Tip #1

Posted by NMA on Jun 28, 2012 11:03:33 AM

Teri RobertsonThe Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) is HUD's method for assigning objective ratings to public housing agencies (PHAs). Most PHAs are scored under SEMAP every year (small, non-troubled agencies are scored every two years).

There are 14 different categories, or indicators, examined in the SEMAP process. These indicators cover the major program responsibilities in administering the housing choice voucher (HCV) program. Some of the indicators do not apply to every PHA, so your agency may be rated on less than the full 14 areas.

Eight of the SEMAP indicators are scored through the PHA's certification, sometimes based on a review of randomly-selected case files. Scoring for the other six indicators is automated and is based on data from PIC and from HUD's Voucher Management System (VMS).

PHAs receive an individual SEMAP score and an overall rating. Your PHA could be rated as a high performer, a standard performer, or a troubled agency. Troubled PHAs are subject to corrective actions and possible sanctions. Here are some tips your agency can use to maximize your SEMAP score — either raising it, or maintaining it if you're already a high scorer.

Tip #1: Monitor PIC data throughout the year.

Since PIC data is used to score almost half of your agency's SEMAP indicators, it's crucial to make sure that the data is accurate and submitted in a timely manner. Most PHAs submit data to PIC electronically at least once per month.

HUD requires that PHAs maintain a PIC reporting rate of at least 95 percent. This means you must successfully submit certifications to PIC for at least 95 percent of your assisted families. If your reporting rate is lower than 95 percent, your agency will automatically receive a score of zero for each of the PIC-scored indicators. This is almost guaranteed to result in an overall rating of "troubled" for the PHA.

Your agency can ensure an adequate reporting rate by reviewing any error messages generated after each PIC submission. Correct any errors and resubmit the certifications that were rejected. If you fail to review and correct PIC error messages, rejected certifications will reduce the agency's overall reporting rate. Work with your software vendor to resolve any issues that may affect accurate and timely submission of PIC data.

Use the reports available within the PIC system to monitor your agency's data. There are a variety of management reports available to do so, including one covering the PIC-scored SEMAP indicators. It's a good idea to review this particular report every month in order to correct any reported deficiencies.

For example, if your PHA fails to successfully report that families have left the program, these families are likely to increase the number of late annual activities shown in PIC. Reviewing the SEMAP report gives you the opportunity to correct this issue before your SEMAP score is determined at the end of your fiscal year.

To stay updated on the latest news about PIC, follow the #IMS/PIC tag on the NMA blog.

Next: How to maximize your agency's HCV performance rating: Tip #2

NMA senior consultant Teri Robertson is nationally recognized as a leading expert in HCV and public housing rent calculation, including HUD RIM review requirements. She specializes in helping agencies improve program utilization to maximize funding. She has previously written for the NMA blog about HCV administrative fees.

Topics: IMS/PIC, SEMAP, Trainers and Consultants, VMS

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