The most effective mobility programs are administered on a regional scale and allow families to move to communities of choice across the region. However, most regions are not under the jurisdiction of the same housing authority. Local administration of the voucher program means that voucher holders that received their voucher from one housing authority must go through certain procedures to transfer, or “port,” their voucher to a different housing authority if they wish to move out of their authority’s jurisdiction.
Streamlining porting processes across all housing authorities in the region and providing voucher holders with assistance in portability procedures can make porting more efficient for all parties involved. The administration of housing vouchers can also be made more efficient through regional collaborations of housing authorities.
Since 2002, the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and now 10 housing authorities across the Chicago region have joined together to form the Regional Housing Initiative (RHI). In 2011, the RHI received a $1 million HUD grant to pilot a number of initiatives to promote housing in opportunity areas throughout the region. One of these initiatives was a demonstration to determine how to more effectively manage regional porting processes.
Two innovative porting models were tested: 1) creating a porting advocate, which served as a third-party liaison to support families with vouchers as they moved through porting procedures and 2) creating a central administrative entity that fully managed porting procedures for a set of housing authorities. While both were promising efforts, the latter resulted in a quicker porting period and more opportunity moves.
Four small housing authorities in the region—the McHenry, Lake, Waukegan and Oak Park housing authorities—participated in the regional porting administration. Through the RHI collaboration, the housing authorities worked with the nonprofit Housing Choice Partners as the single point of contact for voucher holders porting from one jurisdiction to another. The original housing authority sends the port-out client to Housing Choice Partners, which then handles education, paperwork and mobility services.
For More Info:
Breann Gala, Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council
Email: [email protected]