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HUD Seeks Input on Section 8 Guide, Reveals Policy Priorities

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By John Voket

Right now across the U.S., private landlords manage approximately 3.1 million low-income households. So those many landlords and property managers should take a few moments to learn about a couple of significant recent announcements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about its Section 8 program.

According to housingonline.com, Ben Metcalf, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs has announced the establishment of a HUD Program Administration Office, which has developed a set of 25 policy priorities for calendar year 2014. These priorities fall in five broad and overarching categories:

• Producing and preserving affordable housing for those most in need and in locations where it’s most needed.

• Preserving existing affordable housing by improving risk management practices and expanding or enhancing preservation programs.

• Strategically controlling program costs by taking innovative approaches to managing the portfolio.

• Making the business case for increased investments in our programs to provide the tools we need to get work done.

• Continuing to provide quality customer service while transforming the way HUD works to improve 21st century best practices through:

◦ Multifamily Transformation: Integrating business changes within the Office of Multifamily Housing Transformation with the policy development process will lead to improved policy changes.

◦ Enhancing the Service Coordinator Program: Promote an outcomes oriented approach to services coordination for elderly residents, including standardizing the work that service coordinators perform, mandating best practices or facilitating training on best practices.

◦ Revising Delegations of Authority: Continue efforts to delegate responsibilities and authorities to the Field to maximize field empowerment in support of the Multifamily Transformation.

◦ Modernizing Property Disposition Guidance: Issue updated guidance pertaining to property disposition efforts on determining the disposition method that will bring the highest rate of return to HUD.

Another important development involves HUD releasing the long-awaited draft revisions to its Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide, the agency’s comprehensive guidance for renewing expiring Section 8 contracts, for public comment.

Anyone interested in making comments should submit those comments by April 30. Send them electronically to Section8RenewalGuide@hud.gov or via mail to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Attention: Section 8 Renewal Guide, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 6134, Washington, D.C. 20410–0500.

Comments must specifically identify the section number, page, and paragraph number to which they refer.

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