HUD announced that the 39 public housing agencies (PHAs) currently participating in the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration may continue to operate with reduced regulatory requirements until 2028.
The demonstration program provides PHAs with enormous flexibility from most public housing and voucher program statutory and regulatory requirements. For example, some PHAs received approval to merge public housing capital and operating funds with voucher funds in order to use those funds interchangeably. Each MTW PHA sought different statutory and regulatory waivers, which were spelled out in their MTW Agreements set to expire in 2018.
The “Appropriations Act of 1996,” which authorized the demonstration, states that the purpose of MTW is to give PHAs and HUD the flexibility to design and test various approaches for providing and administering housing assistance that reduce costs, provide incentives for economic self-sufficiency, and increase housing choice. The Act requires MTW PHAs to continue to assist substantially the same total number of families and to maintain a comparable mix of families, by family size, as would have been assisted without the MTW demonstration. In addition, at least 75% of the families assisted must have income less than 50% of area median income.
NLIHC has long been concerned that waivers can harm the lowest income residents if, for example, PHAs are allowed to charge unaffordable rents, serve higher income residents, or impose work requirements and time limits. Because this demonstration program has not been evaluated and the potential for harm to residents and the long-term health of the PHAs are at stake, NLIHC has long held that the MTW demonstration is not ready for extension or expansion. In additional to HUD extending MTW for the existing 39 PHAs, the FY16 Appropriations Act authorized expanding to at least an additional 100 the number of PHAs that can participate in the MTW demonstration (see Memo, 12/21/15 and 4/4).
HUD’s announcement of the extension of MTW Agreements is at http://1.usa.gov/1SepEgC
HUD’s MTW demonstration website is at http://1.usa.gov/1I0t0we