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Reno Housing Authority selected for elite program

By ThisIsReno

HUD NEWS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCOU.S. Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Ophelia Basgal announced today that the Reno Housing Authority has been selected to participate in HUD’s Moving to Work program.  Through this innovative program, HUD gives public housing authorities added flexibility to design and test innovative strategies to use federal funding more efficiently to assist families either living in public housing or who are assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

“This is an innovative program, and I’m pleased that Reno has been selected,” said Nevada Senator Harry Reid.  “The Reno Housing Authority will have the flexibility to respond to the unique conditions in Nevada and provide individuals with the tools they need to become self-sufficient. By participating in HUD’s Move to Work program, Nevadans will have new opportunities to significantly improve their quality of life.”

“The Reno Housing Authority is already exploring new and exciting ways to help low-income families save more of their income,” said Basgal.  “We are confident that Reno’s low-income families will benefit from the housing authority’s creative ideas to empower them to obtain jobs or the education they need to achieve self-sufficiency.”

HUD’s MTW program has given selected housing agencies the opportunity to create and study original, locally-developed housing and self-sufficiency strategies that encourage public housing or HCV families to become self-sufficient.  HUD selected these housing agencies for this innovative program that Congress authorized in 1996 through a competitive process.  Congress authorized four additional designations in 2011 and 2010.

RHA is one of four authorities selected from among a dozen that applied for MTW designation earlier this year.  Public housing authorities in Columbus, Ga., Fairfax, Va. and Holyoke, Mass. were also named today.  There are 35 other MTW across the U.S. that have flexibility to use their Federal funds to help families “move to work” by providing incentives such as job training and educational programs that lead to employment and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.

RHA has received numerous commendations from the San Francisco HUD Field Office for its programs, including the 2008 PHA of the Year Award; a Special Achievement Award for performance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the 2011 Low Rent Public Housing Program of the Year Award.

RHA proposes to conduct a controlled study on mobility. RHA’s region has suffered large numbers of foreclosures. In this unfortunate situation is an opportunity for RHA to purchase homes in neighborhoods of opportunity at a very low cost. It will seek to acquire these properties to house families under HUD’s project-based vouchers program and will also couple these desirable properties with self-sufficiency requirements to improve resident outcomes. RHA also plans to conduct a rent reform study that will compare a graduated rent model to a set rent program. These two treatment groups will then be compared to residents paying traditional rents. This ambitious controlled study has the potential to offer insight on how different rent models work within one community. The authority has established a partnership with the University of Nevada at Reno’s Center for Regional Studies to design evaluation criteria for these studies and the MTW program as a whole.

Ultimately, the program aims to make HUD’s largest rental assistance programs more cost effective, while providing families with children more housing choices and incentives to move toward economic self-sufficiency.

HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership,creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

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