From Judy Gilleland - City Manager
Work continues to restructure the MPHA Section 8 program. Criminal background checks for all participants (voucher holders and all adult household members) have been restored with a new ongoing scanning function that will alert MPHA if any household member commits a crime anywhere in Ohio.
After investigation of HQS inspection irregularities by the City and MPHA, the primary HQS inspector was released from The Inspection Group last week. The regional manager for TIG is in town completing inspections until a new team of inspectors is in place. The City and MPHA will not tolerate houses that are not up to HQS standards in our Section 8 program. We will keep Council up to date on this issue.
A landlord briefing has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 30, 3011 from 6:00-7:00pm at the Community Center. MPHA will review the HAP process and answer any remaining questions on the transition and operation of MPHA under Nelson & Associates, Inc.
One of the remaining details to update the program is to verify that we are paying appropriate rental rates and utility assistance. Last week the federal government issued the 2012 Fair Market Rent (FMR) rates for the Cincinnati metropolitan area, which includes Middletown. The new rental rates were lower than 2011 rates. The regulations allow variance from the FMR for properties that are not well maintained or lack standard amenities. MPHA is procuring a market study of the Middletown rental market to adjust HAP rental payments and utility payments to a reasonable rent for the quality of the housing provided. Such a study gives us an objective basis to adjust rents to reflect actual housing conditions. This process will take a few months but should save the Agency money after completed and implemented.
MPHA has produced the first draft of a revised Administrative Plan to incorporate many of these changes and the remaining changes from our 2010 discussions of program updates. Staff will review the Administrative Plan, and a plan should be available soon for Council review and then action at a future MPHA Board meeting.