511 of the Quality Housing and Work
Responsibility Act (QHWRA) of 1998 created the public housing
agency Five-Year and Annual Plan requirement. The Five-Year Plan
describes the mission of the agency and the agency’s long-range
goals and objectives for achieving its mission over a five-year
period, and their approach to managing programs and providing services
for the upcoming year. The PHA Plan also serves as the annual application
for grants to support improvements to public housing buildings (Capital
Fund Program) and safety in public housing (Public Housing Drug
local, regional or State agency that receives funds to operate Federal
public housing or Section 8 tenant-based assistance (vouchers) programs
must submit a PHA Plan. The law considers these agencies to be public
housing agencies even though they may not be called a PHA locally.
For example, State Housing Finance Agencies that administer vouchers
are considered PHAs and required to submit a PHA Plan.
Congressional Intent and Purpose in Creating the PHA Plan Requirement
Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) of 1998 provided
more flexibility and discretion for PHAs to use funding to address
the needs of low-income families. The PHA Plan is Congress’s way
of ensuring that the PHA is accountable to the local community for
choices it makes with this flexibility.
the creation of the PHA Plan requirement, the law specified both
the type of information that should be included in the plan – the
content of the Plan – and the steps a PHA must go through to obtain
resident and public involvement in the plan – the process for its
development. In addition, the law required that the plan be consistent
with the housing and community development plans of the community
(as described in the jurisdiction’s Consolidated Plan).
ensure public participation in the process, PHA Plans, including
attachments and supporting documents, must be available for inspection
by the public at the principal office of the PHA during normal business
hours both during the public review period prior to the board hearing
and submission to HUD, as well as after HUD approval of the PHA
Plan. HUD encourages PHAs to make the PHA Plan available at the
principal business office(s) of the jurisdiction(s) served by the
PHA if different from the PHA’s principal office (or of several
of the jurisdictions served by the PHA if the PHA covers a large
jurisdiction). PHAs are also encouraged to make the PHA Plan and
attachments available at other locations, such as libraries or community
centers and on PHA or community web sites.
The PHA Plan as a Strategic Planning Tool
the passage of the QHWRA, PHAs have many more “tools” to manage
their programs. These tools include:
rent structures and payment standards
admissions and occupancy procedures (including site-based waiting
formula funding for capital and drug elimination programs
of obsolete public housing with vouchers
ties to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) agencies.
The PHA Plan is the opportunity for the PHA to fully consider these
tools and then inform the public how the PHA will use them. The
PHA Plan process is an annual opportunity to determine the role
of the PHA in the community – now and in the future. Strategic planning
helps the PHA decide what mechanisms it will use to reach its goals.
PHA Resident Community Involvement in the PHA Plan Process
PHA’s resident community plays an important role in the development
of the PHA Plan. Residents can ensure that their needs are being
addressed and become more involved in issues that directly affect
them. In addition, through involvement in the PHA Plan, residents
will be more aware of the process that the PHA undergoes to prioritize
agency activities. PHAs also benefit by working with residents since
the residents can provide important information regarding the physical
condition of the developments, physical or management improvements
that are needed, and resident self-sufficiency needs. This information
helps PHAs to prioritize capital improvement activities and obtain
supportive services for residents.
are required to establish one or more Resident Advisory Boards (RAB)
to enable residents to advise the PHA in Plan development. The membership
consists of individuals who reflect and represent the residents
assisted by the PHA. The RAB makes recommendations regarding the
development of the PHA Plan, and any significant amendments or modifications
to the Plan.