Baltimore County (MD) Housing Authority: Streamlining the Intake Process and Leasing Procedures
Baltimore County Housing Authority (BCHA) received a WtW award
of 700 vouchers and is an agency within the Baltimore County Department
of Social Services (DSS), which administers TANF funds. Because
of this, eligibility, selection, and case management activities
are well-coordinated and BCHA did not hire any new staff to handle
WtW leasing activities.
Upon award of the WtW vouchers, BCHA moved quickly to:
- Rename the program in an effort to remove the notion of "welfare"
from the program. The name was changed to Rental Incentives Supporting
Employment (RISE). RISE is closely linked and modeled after the
agency's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program;
- Coordinate with the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the
areas of intake, case management, and supportive services;
- Begin an area outreach campaign to ensure a sufficient pool
of eligible families for the program; and
- Designate a staff person to serve as a liaison between the housing
authority and the division within DSS that administers TANF.
Implementation: Streamlining the Intake Process and Leasing Procedures
BCHA uses the same intake process for WTW as its does for its regular
housing choice voucher program. This process has been tested and
streamlined in order to expedite leasing. Key elements of this streamlined
- Intake is conducted strictly through a mail-in process. Program
applications are sent to potentially eligible households. No family
visits the housing authority until it attends an orientation session.
- WtW applicants are provided with the name of the BCHA/DSS liaison
if assistance is needed.
- At the orientation, BCHA staff reviews the completed applications
and determines what information is still needed to determine eligibility.
- To accelerate the leasing process, inspectors bring the HAP
contract and lease to the initial inspection. If the unit passes
inspection, all parties involved sign the necessary documents
on the spot. This eliminates delays in delivering these documents
to the PHA and reduces the amount of processing time.
Another unique feature of BCHA's program is that WtW families are
referred to the Baltimore Area Regional Housing Opportunities Program
(BARHOP). BARHOP is part of HUD's Regional Opportunity Counseling
(ROC) Program. As a ROC site, it receives special HUD funds to provide
mobility counseling to Section 8 families. Through this program,
WtW families receive housing search counseling and transportation
Rental Subsidy Intake Supervisor
Baltimore County (MD) Housing Authority