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Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #16

Posted by NMA on May 8, 2013 1:57:22 PM

Cara Gillette

While public housing funding for May is now at an 82% proration level (up from 79% in April), sequestration is still in effect, and Congress shows no inclination to reverse it any time soon.

The business of owning and managing affordable housing in decent, safe, and sanitary condition and in good repair remains our mission. PHAs need to plan more strategically than ever before. So, as all businesses must ask in tough times: How can we maximize dollars and cut costs?

Tip #16: Look at time efficiencies for staff.

Look for savings in the certification and recertification policies and processes. Not only are you saving paper, you're saving time.

For example, Teri Robertson's Idea #1 in her HCV sequestration series was to revise PHA interim reexamination policy:

Some PHAs have eliminated PHA-initiated interims altogether so as to ease administrative burden. Others set a dollar threshold, but acknowledge that determining whether an interim needs to take place is often as time-consuming as actually conducting an interim.

Here’s a suggestion we’ve begun making to agencies when they contract with us to spend three days with them to facilitate a complete administrative plan or ACOP revision: consider adopting an interim policy that the family must report, and the PHA must conduct an interim, when the family begins receiving income from a new income source.

Consider outsourcing your quality control (QC) function for PIC errors. This can be time-consuming for PHA staff, and you need an accurate, objective assessment. (In the HCV program, a random, impartial sampling is imperative for SEMAP.) And you want to have trend analysis here: Is an employee's error rate improving? What kinds of errors are most prevalent?

Next: Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #17

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, Ms. Gillette served at the San Diego Housing Commission, administering its public housing and Section 8 waiting lists, serving as hearing officer, managing public housing, and overseeing resident economic development programs. She has previously written for the NMA blog about blended occupancy projects.

If you find that you need staffing help during sequestration, NMA can assist your agency with recertifications (done remotely), quality control, outsourced hearing officer services (done remotely), HQS inspections, and more. Email for more information.

Topics: Budget Cuts, Quality Control, Recertification, SEMAP, Sequestration

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