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Learning from Each Other: Monitoring WtW Participant Success through the Reexamination Process of the WtW Program in Raleigh, Nc

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 -   Challenge
 -   Solution
 -   Implementation
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Agency: Raleigh Housing Authority (RHA)
(Size of WtW Program: 950 vouchers)

Challenge

Tracking participant progress in achieving the self-sufficiency goals of the WtW program, specifically family progress in obtaining and/or retaining employment, is a challenge for PHAs of all sizes.

This is particularly true for PHAs like the RHA. RHA faces additional challenges in tracking participant progress due to:

 -   The sheer size of its WtW voucher program (950 vouchers);
 -   Limited staff resources dedicated to this activity; and
 -   WtW-specific family obligations, which creates an additional administrative burden associated with monitoring compliance with such obligations.

Solution: Monitoring Progress through the RHA WtW Voucher Program Reexamination Process

To ease the administrative burden of monitoring WtW clients, RHA designed a reexamination process that allows the agency to monitor participant progress in achieving WtW goals and reviews participant compliance with family obligations. The process closely involves RHA's partner organization, Wake County Human Services, the local TANF agency.

Implementation

RHA attributes the success of it reexamination process to the following:

  • Due to the size of RHA's WtW program, the reexamination process is the primary means through which RHA has contact with WtW families, reviews family progress, and determines compliance with the program. The reexamination meeting is completed three months prior to the participant's anniversary date. An appointment is scheduled for the participant with an occupancy specialist at RHA's Section 8 office.
  • RHA takes special care to ensure that WtW participants are given many opportunities to understand the purpose of the WtW voucher and the requirements of the program. When the WtW voucher is issued, RHA staff describes the special requirements of the WtW voucher at a group briefing session. Similarly, at the time of reexamination, each WtW participant takes part in a reexamination group briefing prior to the one-on-one meeting. In the group briefing, RHA staff describes the reexamination process, again emphasizes the purpose of the WtW voucher, and describes the specific work/training requirements of the program.
  • During the one-on-one reexamination meeting, the occupancy specialist completes an Assessment Checklist to determine the WtW participant's progress in the areas of employment and training. Although not social workers or experienced case managers, the occupancy specialists responsible for conducting the WtW assessment have the appropriate skills necessary to effectively communicate with the WtW client to determine needs and assess progress.
  • When a family is not making progress in meeting the requirements of the WtW program (e.g. enrolled in training, other education, or employment), an RHA staff person works with the participant to develop an Individual Employment and Training Plan to ensure that the participant understands the requirements of the program and sets individualized goals in accordance with these requirements. The participant signs the Individual Employment and Training Plan to acknowledge understanding of the plan and requirements for demonstrating progress.
  • For families that did not make sufficient progress in meeting the program requirements and were required to complete an Individual Employment and Training Plan, RHA schedules a follow-up meeting for six months from the date of the reexamination meeting. The family is informed that progress must be demonstrated at that time in order to maintain housing assistance.
  • RHA works throughout this process with its partner agency, Wake County Human Services (WCHS), the local TANF agency. When a participant has not shown progress at the annual reexamination, RHA sends a notice to WCHS to inform the agency that the participant has not shown progress to date. WCHS will then follow up with a letter to the participant offering assistance in the training/employment search. The WCHS social worker will typically attempt to schedule an in-person meeting with the participant in order to discuss goals and resources that may be available to assist the family in attaining those goals.
  • At the six-month follow up meeting, if the WtW participant is still not showing progress towards self-sufficiency, RHA schedules the participant to meet with the "WtW Grievance Hearing Committee" within 30 days. RHA has formed a committee comprised of representatives of Wake County Human Services and the Housing Authority. At the Grievance Committee hearing, the committee meets with the WtW participant and assesses the participant's progress by reviewing any accompanying documentation. The committee then makes a decision on whether the participant's housing assistance can be continued. The decision is made by consensus of committee members and is conveyed in writing to the WtW participant within three days of the hearing.
  • If it is determined that the participant has not made progress, the participant will be terminated from the WtW voucher program and will be given at least 30 days notice of the termination. The participant may not appeal this decision.

Results

The reexamination process has helped RHA successfully manage, track, and monitor their WtW program of 950 vouchers. Through the process that RHA has designed, WtW participants are informed of the purpose of the WtW voucher and acknowledge understanding of the requirements of the program. Participants are monitored on an ongoing basis and afforded opportunities to make progress as agreed. When clients are not meeting program goals, RHA's process provides second chances while maintaining the integrity of the program and keeping the administrative burden low. Further, when assistance does need to be terminated, RHA's monitoring process provides the necessary documentation for program files.

Contact Information: Yvette Byrd, Director of Leased Housing
619 Tucker Street Raleigh, North Carolina 27611
Phone: 919-831-6620, x 242


Source: On-Site Review, Staff Interviews, and Observations of
Reexamination Activities and Interviews

 
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