- Boston HA (MA)
- Albany HA (NY)
- Parkersburg HA (WV)
- Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA)
- Guest speaker: Susan Tilson, Section 8 Team Leader, Colorado
Department of Health and Human Services (CDHS)
Challenges and Tips for Successs
Challenge #1: Developing effective and mutually supportive partnerships
for a state-wide WtW program.
Tips for Success:
- Ensure that executive-level PHA staff see the program as
a priority for the PHA. Garner support for the program, and
plan parallel staff initiatives to secure partnerships among non-profits/other
social service agencies with programs vital to ensuring the success
of WtW families.
- Identify local non-profits that work with similar target
populations and have resources that specifically address the needs
of WtW families. Example: Colorado DHS established
a preference specifically for homeless families that had been
in transitional housing for two years. To best serve this target
population, DHS decided to engage local service providers that
could provide specialized case management services to contribute
to a unique WtW "continuum of care," with the goal of
family self-sufficiency. To assist in compiling a list of local
homeless service providers, staff went to the HUD Web site to
find contact information for various organizations. In all, seven
partnerships were successfully cultivated with organizations that
include the state TANF agency and various non-profits. The homeless
service providers were particularly enthusiastic about WtW involvement,
because it addressed their goal of obtaining long-term housing
assistance for families struggling to attain housing stability.
In turn, the WtW families are linked to established organizations
with case managers and service linkages already in place. It is
a win-win situation for both the WtW program and its partners,
and all partner services are provided for free.
- Make a partner "wish list" and assess how the PHA
could be of assistance to potential partner agencies to "sell"
the value of a partnership. How could the creation of a partnership
be mutually beneficial for both parties involved? Presenting the
idea of a partnership can be more effective when PHAs demonstrate
that they are aware of possible needs of the organizations on
their wish list. For example, the Albany Housing Authority agreed
to provide help to some of its non-profit partners by providing
general support, references, and writing assistance for some of
their grant applications.
- Ensure that communication between the PHA and partners is
easy and efficient. This need is even more acute for large
or state-wide WtW programs. When possible, utilize electronic
media for communication, including email, PHA Web pages, online
message boards, and audio and video conferencing. State programs
can reduce travel to service providers across large distances
by implementing regional meetings. Example: Colorado DHS also
has quarterly luncheon meetings with partners that provide an
opportunity for all parties to have a say in participant policies
and program development. These efforts let partners know that
their input is highly valued, and the meetings are always well-attended.
- Make sure that PHA staff communicates with participants'
case managers if difficulties arise in a family's ability to fulfill
WtW obligations and program rules. Doing this will permit
both the PHA and case managers to fully assess the situation and
allow them to work out the best way to proceed, ensuring that
the family will receive the highest level of support to rectify
- Recognize partners for their contribution to the success
of the program. Albany HA organizes a dinner for WtW partners
Challenge #2: Filling out documents (such as the WtW/FSS Addendum)
that require information on services provided by partners for a
large number of participants.
Tip for Success:
- Colorado DHS addresses this by having partner case managers
fill out various documents, including the WtW addendum, for WtW
participants. This arrangement is well-suited, because case
managers have frequent contact with participants and are aware
of the primary service networks which they have provided for families.
Challenge #3: Increasing knowledge of the WtW program among
landlords and tenants.
Tip for Success:
- The Albany Housing Authority has Saturday morning WtW training
sessions that involve both landlords and tenants and contribute
to heightened awareness of program rules and expectations.
Note: For more tips on forming successful partnerships,
view the Partnership Resources
section of this Web site.