Agency: The Grand Rapids Housing Commission
(Size of WtW Program: 250 vouchers)
Housing Authorities and other WtW voucher program staff faced the
challenge of leasing up their WtW Housing Vouchers before the June
2001 deadline. Further, in developing their WtW voucher programs,
housing authorities are required to work with welfare and workforce
development agencies to ensure that the housing assistance is combined
with other services families need for a successful transition into
the workforce. Effective use of partnerships can both assist PHAs
in meeting their lease-up goals and help them to provide much-needed
services to families transitioning from welfare to work.
Solution: Effective Use of Partnerships
To help lease-up Section 8 vouchers, the Grand Rapids Housing
Commission partnered with Michigan's Family Independence Agency,
the local TANF agency, and Area Community Services Employment and
Training, the local workforce agency. Staff from these agencies
participates with Commission staff and other supportive service
agencies on the Commission's FSS Council, an emergency shelter council,
and a collaborative board that addresses a continuum of care for
homelessness issues. In addition, the Family Independence Agency
subsidizes security deposits for Section 8 and WtW voucher participants,
an arrangement made possible through the rapport and trust that
has developed between the partners.
These collaborative efforts paved the way for the WtW Voucher Program
relationships and the informal planning meetings required for the
implementation of the WtW Voucher Program. The Family Independence
Agency and the Area Community Services Employment and Training staff
refer clients to the Housing Commission for housing assistance.
The Housing Commission also has plans to coordinate with the Family
Independence Agency to allow line staff members to verify eligibility
directly. The agencies provide case management and supportive services
to any WtW voucher holder who is eligible to receive services (independent
of their WtW status).
The Grand Rapids Housing Commission received 250 WtW vouchers and
currently administers 1,581 Section 8 vouchers. The local rental
market consists mostly of single family rental housing. Most voucher
recipients lease in place, easing the housing search process.
The Commission selects WtW participants from general applications
completed by very low-income families. The Commission certifies
WtW eligibility prior to orientation for the voucher program.
As of August 2000, the Grand Rapids Housing Commission has issued
all 250 vouchers and leased 233 (93 percent).
Contact: Amy Schatner, Grand Rapids
1420 Fuller, South East Grand Rapids, MI 49507