MTW—Moving to Work
The Housing Authority of Champaign County is part of an elite group of Public Housing Authorities as 1 of only 39 agencies, or less than 1%, of all PHA’s in the country that have successfully received a Moving to Work Designation.
Created by Congress in 1996, Moving to Work (MTW) is a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demonstration program that allows housing authorities to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies for providing low-income families with affordable housing and new paths to economic independence. MTW is currently the only mechanism through which public housing authorities can wholly transform housing delivery, programs and operations.
MTW has three statutory goals:
- Reduce cost and achieve greater cost effectiveness in federal expenditures;
- Give incentives to families with children where the head of household is working, is seeking work, or is preparing for work by participating in job training, educational programs, or programs that assist people to obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient; and
- Increase housing choices for low-income families.
The broad flexibility to waive statute and regulations allows HACC to better serve and house residents while streamlining internal operations.
HACC has been designated an MTW agency since 2010. In 2016 HACC signed a new agreement with HUD that ensures our participation in the program until 2028. Since our inception in the program, we have partnered with the University of Illinois to conduct an ongoing evaluation of our MTW Program. This evaluation will continue through 2028.
Moving To Work: MTW Improving Lives
Short Term Goals— Upon receipt of the Moving to Work designation, the Housing Authority of Champaign County identified three primary goals that would drive its MTW activities. These goals continue to be our focus but have been refined to coincide with the agency rebranding and specific objectives to be accomplished in the 2018 Plan year.
Streamline business processes and implement advanced technological solutions that will result in operational cost efficiencies and enable reallocation of resources to local initiatives and strategies. 2018 Objectives:
- Complete the conversion to electronic tenant files for all programs.
- Implement an electronic tenant portal to facilitate rent payment and reporting of changes in household composition and income.
- Upgrade all hardware and software utilized agency wide.
- Launch a new website with rebranded messaging.
Provide alternate incentives designed to motivate families to actively seek financial independence and transition from dependency on housing subsidy. Carefully measure success of each incentive to identify and replicate the greatest motivators. 2018 Objectives:
- Implement a job retention program in collaboration with the Work Force Development Center to assist residents maintain employment.
- Develop and implement a cash incentive for residents successfully meeting the Agency definition of self-sufficiency to provide financial stability upon expiration of the 8-year term limit for housing assistance.
- Develop and implement additional homeownership options for individuals prepared for homeownership.
Develop new housing in rural communities currently not served by HACC, leveraging private capital to ensure HACC’s economic viability and sustainability. 2018 Objectives:
- Finalize development plans in the Villages of St. Joseph; Tolono and Fischer.
- Commence construction of Haven at Market Place including Haven Court for seniors and Haven Flats for individuals with special needs.
- Collaborate with service agencies in Champaign County to develop housing solutions to meet special needs including Family Re-Unification and Re-Entry.
- Expand housing options for veterans through allocation of MTW Vouchers to the VASH Program and for homeless individuals through allocation of MTW Vouchers for homeless individuals.
Long Term Goals—HACC’s long term MTW goal is to effectuate our Vision
Our Mission—“Provide a quality living environment as a foundation for individuals to achieve their full potential”
Our Vision—“Develop quality affordable housing communities providing opportunity and support to maximize individual potential; while sustaining long term financial viability of HACC.”
“Develop quality affordable housing communities…”
Development plans for 2018 have been refined and will be guided by the following principles:
- Develop a portfolio with a minimum of 1,000 affordable hard units owned directly or indirectly by HACC by 2020;
- Provide a direct housing subsidy at all new housing developed to assure affordability to the lowest income residents in Champaign County.
- Take a more active role to address housing for special needs populations including homeless families and veteran’s; and chronically mentally ill and developmentally disabled individuals.
“Providing opportunity and support to maximize individual potential…”
HACC implemented a mandatory self-sufficiency requirement (LSS) which is driven by the following principles:
- Self-Sufficiency—HACC defines self-sufficiency as behavior that exhibits personal accountability and financial responsibility demonstrated through consistent (more than 12 months) employment appropriate to the maximum skill level achievable by the individual.
- Mandatory Participation—Participation in a self-sufficiency is a condition of eligibility for new admissions and a condition of continued occupancy for existing residents and participants.
- Adult Requirements—All abled bodied individuals ages 18 through 54 are required to actively pursue activities to achieve economic self-sufficiency with a goal of employment for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
- Term Limit—In 2016, HACC implemented a maximum term limit of 8 years for all households whose head is an able-bodied individual age 18 through 54.
- Job Retention—In 2018, HACC will direct additional resources to job retention.
- Cash Incentive—In 2018, HACC will implement cash incentive to be paid to households that remain LSS compliant each calendar quarter to be paid upon expiration of the maximum term limit.
“…while sustaining long term financial viability of HACC.”
HACC will continue to closely monitor financial resources and grow its entrepreneurial capacity to continue to generate non-federal funding for program operations.