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Roundtable 8 Discussion Summary
Challenges & Best Practices of PHAs Running LARGE (700+) WtW Programs

(Teleconference Roundtable held September 18, 2002)

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 -   Teleconference Participants
 -   Challenges and Tips for Success

Teleconference Participants

  • Austin HA (TX)
  • Chesapeake Redevelopment HA (VA)
  • Fresno (CA)
  • Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (MA)
  • Sacramento HA (CA)

Challenges and Tips for Success

Challenge #1: Staffing

Tip for Success:

  • Leverage resources to expand capacity. One agency overcame their staffing challenges by hiring 10 additional FSS Coordinators. The Housing Coordinators provide eligibility services and the FSS Coordinators provide case management. (All of the agency's WtW families are enrolled in FSS.)

Challenge #2: Monitoring/Tracking

Tip for Success:

  • Use available "desktop" software to help staff monitor progress. Two agencies created Access databases to track WtW client status. For instance, the agencies track reason for non-compliance (e.g. unemployed; laid-off; seasonal worker, maternity leave, etc.). The agency also keeps track of timeframes that clients must adhere to in trying to find employment and if the clients are meeting these deadlines. Staff can also record case notes in the Access database. The case managers continuously update all of this information.

Challenge #3: Terminations

Tips for Success:

  • Track the status of WtW families to help determine if/when terminations are necessary and document reasons for discontinuing assistance.

  • Support WtW families to prevent terminations. One agency has had very few terminations. The agency does everything it can to keep its clients in-compliance and in the program, including making house visits, if needed, or providing flexibility in fulfilling the obligations.

  • Give families a second chance. One agency allows families to appeal terminations, giving a family a second chance if the client shows a willingness to try harder.

Challenge #4: Linking FSS & WtW

Tip for Success:

  • Revise your Action Plan to link FSS and WtW. Agencies are in different stages of linking their FSS and WtW programs. One agency has linked its programs almost 100 percent, while other agenicies' programs are not linked. Committing to a WtW/FSS linkage in agency Action Plans can help PHAs think through key steps and increase success.

Challenge #5: Partnerships

Tips for Success:

  • Demonstrate to local organizations the benefits of partnering with WtW. One agency considers its partnerships with the local TANF agency and other local organizations to be the program's best feature of design & implementation. Their partners see the relationship as a "win-win" situation that provides their clients with housing vouchers and the organizations with more effective and efficient dissemination of client information.

  • Be proactive. One agency has an on-site, full-time job specialist from its local TANF agency who provides great help to the agency and its clients. This agency also partners with local community colleges, a state college, and a state workforce program to provide services such as consumer credit counseling. This agency meets monthly with its partners to keep communication open and partners involved.
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