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Technical Assistance Initiative - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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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 process include:

  • 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 assistance.


Julie O'Connor
Rental Subsidy Intake Supervisor
Baltimore County (MD) Housing Authority
(410) 887-4457

Content current as of 23 August 2001   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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