May 9, 2012
FCRHA to Apply for “Moving to Work” Status
Draft Plan Released for Public Comment; Public Hearing Scheduled for May 30
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) plans to apply to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for designation as a “Moving to Work” (MTW) agency. If the FCRHA’s application is successful, the designation would allow the FCRHA to design and test innovative approaches to housing, ultimately providing residents with significant benefits that will help them move towards greater self-sufficiency. Specifically, the FCRHA could:
Create a housing continuum that seamlessly joins together the
county’s housing programs – including Public Housing and Housing Choice
Vouchers - and establishes goals to help residents move toward
Expand its already strong community partnerships with non-profit
organizations to provide self-sufficiency services ranging from
“ready-to-rent” training, to job readiness, through homebuyer education
- Reduce the burden both on staff and residents related to such things as re-certifications and inspections, which will allow staff to focus more on people – not paperwork. Staff will be able to link residents to the services – such as job training and education – that they need to move toward self-sufficiency.
Primary benefits of the MTW program in Fairfax County would include less paperwork for case workers, allowing them to focus more on their residents’ other needs; options for residents to begin a savings “nest egg” to use towards home purchase or education; and a “housing continuum” that will help many residents move from rental situations to home ownership.
The MTW program will become part of the agency’s larger THRIVE initiative - Total Housing Reinvention for Individual Success, Vital Services and Economic Empowerment. An advisory committee, made up of FCRHA commissioners, representatives of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), Fairfax Area Disability Services Board (DSB), the Governing Board of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness, and other community stakeholders has been meeting to assist in shaping the FCRHA’s MTW Plan and explore new alternatives to serving residents’ housing needs in an economically challenging environment.
The MTW application process is highly competitive, with only four slots available for 2012 designation. The FCRHA will submit its application to HUD in June, and seeks the support of community partners as staff moves forward in the approval process. If the FCRHA is designated as an MTW agency by HUD, the immediate plan is to focus on reducing paperwork – such as having less frequent re-certifications and inspections – and focusing more on helping residents thrive. Over time, the FCRHA would create a “housing continuum” to serve the needs of the county’s residents, and make other changes in its programs to help residents move toward self-sufficiency.
Draft Plan Available for Public Comment; Public Hearing Information: On May 7, 2012, the FCRHA authorized the release of its draft MTW Plan for public comment; the draft Plan can be viewed here. The FCRHA has scheduled a public hearing to be held at its special meeting on May 30, 2012 at 7 PM; the hearing will be held at the FCRHA Board Room, 4500 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia, 22030. If you wish to submit written comments on the draft Plan, you may do so by email to email@example.com, or by mail, attention of Vincent Rogers, Senior Program Manager, Department of Housing and Community Development, 3700 Pender Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. The deadline for receipt of written comments on the draft Plan will be 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, 2012.
Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board Endorses FCRHA Application for “Moving to Work” Status
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) offered its “full endorsement” of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s (FCRHA) application for designation as a Moving to Work agency by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. CSB Chair Martha Lloyd, in a letter to FCRHA Chair Elisabeth Lardner, stated that the FCRHA’s Moving to Work plan is an “innovative redesign of the FCRHA’s federal and local rental housing programs [that] has the potential to open new doors in the housing continuum for individuals the CSB serves.”
The FCRHA’s application for MTW status is at the heart of its new “THRIVE” Initiative - Total Housing Reinvention for Individual Success, Vital Services and Economic Empowerment. The goal of the THRIVE Initiative is that participants in the FCRHA’s housing programs do more than just survive: they should thrive. Through the THRIVE initiative, participants will not only have an affordable and attractive place to call home – they can be connected to services and support that will help them succeed and become self-sufficient. These services are designed to help participants better manage their money; train for a new job; pursue college or other training; become a better parent; learn English; improve their health; and perhaps even purchase a home.
The THRIVE concept informs and drives the FCRHA’s MTW Plan, which can be viewed here. In their letter endorsing the FCRHA’s MTW application, the CSB noted that the THRIVE concept for the MTW application demonstrates “flexible, creative, and cost-effective ways to assist families to become self-sufficient and increase housing choice and availability, including options for individuals with disabilities who may rely on long-term housing assistance.” CSB noted that “the [MTW] proposal weaves together several key elements: (1) development of a housing continuum using FCRHA federal and local rental housing programs; (2) setting goals for success in the type of housing on the continuum appropriate to the individual’s needs; (3) access to supportive services and education/training around key economic skills; and (4) provision of opportunities and financial incentives to move through the continuum.” A copy of the CSB letter can be viewed here.