Moving to Work (MTW) - Promising Practices

Since Moving to Work (MTW) is a demonstration program, HUD has focused on analyzing the various programs and policies implemented by MTW agencies and their associated results. A significant feature of this effort is to identify promising practices by MTW agencies that with statutory or regulatory changes could be replicated at other public housing authorities nationwide. This page focuses on a variety of the promising practices being implemented by MTW agencies.

For the two agencies highlighted in the slideshow on the MTW homepage, Cambridge Housing Authority and Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, please see the Cost Effectiveness and Housing Choice sections respectively below.


MTW Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Innovations

The MTW Demonstration allows MTW agencies to design and test various flexibilities in implementing the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Agencies have used this flexibility to design and test better ways to serve families in their FSS programs. This document, relying on MTW agency submitted Annual MTW Plans and Reports, outlines some of the ways in which MTW agencies have utilized authorizations in the MTW Agreement to implement innovations around the FSS program or to create local self-sufficiency programs.


Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and Utilizing MTW Flexibilities

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program was created in order to give public housing agencies a powerful tool to preserve and improve public housing properties and address the nationwide backlog of deferred maintenance. Coupling the RAD program with MTW flexibilities has allowed MTW agencies to test various approaches for providing and administering housing programs, safeguarding long-term housing assistance, modernizing its properties and providing greater funding support. This document, relying on Annual MTW Plans, Reports, and MTW agency websites, outlines some of the ways in which MTW agencies have utilized authorizations in their MTW Agreements to implement innovations around the RAD Demonstration program.


Using MTW Innovations to Address Local Needs

Below, you will find some examples of how MTW innovations can help agencies address local challenges. The innovations are categorized by the three statutory objectives of the MTW program: cost effectiveness, housing choice, and self-sufficiency. However, MTW innovations may achieve more than one statutory objective. MTW agencies decide what statutory objective they are addressing through each MTW activity or initiative.

Cost Effectiveness

Many MTW agencies use their flexibilities to implement cost effectiveness activities that can reduce costs associated with administrative tasks, and that assist with repositioning public housing units. Below is information about how agencies can use MTW flexibilities to be more cost effective and examples of activities implemented by legacy agencies.

  • Simplifying HQS inspections: MTW agencies can implement activities that reduce costs associated with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) requirements. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented a modified HQS inspection activity in the Housing Authority of Baltimore City's FY20 MTW Plan, Activity 2020-01.

  • Streamlining administrative tasks: MTW agencies can use waivers to simplify rent calculations to reduce PHA costs related to reexaminations. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented an alternate reexamination activity in Lexington-Fayette Housing Authority's FY20 MTW Plan, Activity 21.

  • Repositioning public housing units: MTW agencies can use funding fungibility during RAD conversions to supplement the RAD contract rents. HUD produces RAD case studies to help inform low-income housing providers about the benefits of RAD. In 2014, HUD published a case study explaining how the Cambridge Housing Authority combined RAD with the MTW program to preserve affordable housing. Read about the case study here. Also see the RAD and Utilizing MTW Flexibilities report found above on this page.

Housing Choice

MTW agencies can implement activities to help improve housing choice by helping families obtain housing in competitive housing markets and encouraging owner participation in low-income housing programs. Below is information about how agencies can use MTW flexibilities to improve housing choice and examples of activities implemented by legacy agencies.

  • Establishing Payment Standards that accurately reflect an area's rental market: MTW agencies can establish local payment standards that better reflect local rental markets and sub-areas within those markets. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented a payment standard activity in Chicago Housing Authority's FY 19 MTW Plan, Activity 2010-02.

  • Encouraging owners to participate in the voucher program: MTW agencies can implement activities that offer incentive payments to landlords that could encourage them participate in low-income housing programs. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented a landlord incentive activity in Lincoln Housing Authority's FY21 MTW Plan, Initiative 9. Also see HUD’s Office of Inspector General review of landlord incentives implemented by MTW agencies.

  • Helping families move to areas of opportunity: MTW fungibility can make it easier for agencies to develop low-income housing and increase housing options helping families move to higher opportunity areas. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented an activity to create low-income housing in the Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo's FY20 MTW Plan, Activity 2012-26.

Self-Sufficiency

MTW agencies can encourage self-sufficiency in many ways. Below is information about how rent reform, supportive services and sponsor-based housing activities can help achieve this goal and examples of activities implemented by legacy MTW agencies.

  • Connecting a family’s income to the rent they pay, resulting in a disincentive to increase income: MTW agencies can implement rent reform policies that encourage self-sufficiency. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented a rent reform activity in Keene Housing’s FY20 MTW Plan, Activity 1999.04.CE.

  • Targeting special populations: MTW flexibilities allow agencies to provide temporary bridge housing programs for special populations. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented an activity to target chronically homeless individuals in King County Housing Authority’s FY20 Plan, Activity, 2007-6.

  • Providing services that help families become more self-sufficient: Partnering with organizations, and leveraging funds, helps MTW agencies provide a larger range of supportive services. Read more about this here.

See how a legacy MTW agency implemented an activity including partnering with an organization in Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s FY21 MTW Plan, Activity 2018-3.


To view content that was previously featured on this page, please visit the Promising Practices Archive page.

 

Last updated February 2, 2021