Moving to Work (MTW)
Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority Selected for Admission to the Moving to Work (MTW) Program
On Friday, May 7, 2021, The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) for admission to the Moving to Work (MTW) program. MTW is a demonstration program for public housing authorities (PHAs) that provides them the opportunity to create and test locally designed strategies that use federal dollars more efficiently, helps residents find employment and become self-sufficient, and increases housing choices for low-income families. MTW allows PHAs exemptions from many existing public housing and voucher rules and provides funding flexibility among various HUD programs. AMHA is hoping to pioneer a number of policy interventions that demonstrate success at the local level and will subsequently roll out to the rest of the country’s housing authorities.
“[AMHA is] joining a select group of industry leaders that have created innovative local housing programs to such an extent that their experience in the MTW Demonstration Program has led to positive changes in the entire affordable housing industry,” stated General Deputy Assistant Secretary Dominique Blom in the MTW award letter.
AMHA began the application process in June 2019. Over the last two years, AMHA has held discussions with community partners and public meetings with residents and participants to formulate an application for the demonstration program.
“This selection truly recognizes at a national level the decades of success at AMHA,” said Brian Gage, AMHA Executive Director. “Moving to Work flexibilities will make AMHA an incubator for innovation and opportunity for our families in Summit County and across the country.”
Through the MTW program, AMHA will implement rent reform to increase efficiency and make the rent calculation process easier to understand for participants. A randomly selected portion of eligible households will utilize the new rent calculation process in which AMHA will group households by their income into tiers. Each household in the tier will pay the same rent portion and will only have to undergo an income reexamination every three years rather than annually. Elderly and disabled households will not be part of the rent reform changes, and hardship policies will be in place for households that experience a decrease in their income.
AMHA envisions a MTW Program that reduces administrative burdens and costs, and ultimately enhances the quality of housing and services that empower residents to reach their full potential. More flexible regulations in spending allowances permits MTW agencies to do their jobs more efficiently, creating cost savings to the agency. These savings can then be reallocated to address the needs specific to Summit County and to collaborate with organizations to provide programs or services most needed by our participants.
What is the MTW Program?
The MTW Program gives housing authorities the ability to modify their housing programs to better benefit their local community.
MTW has three objectives:
- Reduce cost
- Encourage self-sufficiency through job training, education programs, etc.
- Increase housing choices
What are housing agencies permitted to do under MTW?
Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) that are chosen to participate in MTW are allowed to structure their housing programs to better benefit their local community. These PHAs have flexibility in combining their funding across multiple housing programs and in how they deliver services to their participants.
MTW agencies must still follow all other federal rules and regulations, including the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act, labor standards, environmental rules, procurement guidelines, demolition and disposition procedures and relocation regulations. PHAs must also develop hardship policies and safeguards for unforeseen circumstances to support households in the MTW program.
What kinds of activities have MTW Agencies implemented?
MTW Agencies can only use MTW flexibility in pursuit of the three MTW objectives listed above. Some of the activities include streamlining HUD processes, redesigning HUD forms, inspection and rent reform, supportive services, developing mixed-income and tax credit properties, foreclosure prevention, mortgage assistance, and increasing the percentage of project-based vouchers.
How will the MTW program affect my rent?
The second cohort of the MTW Expansion Program is designed to evaluate different ways of calculating participants’ rent portions. All eligible households will be randomly assigned to either a control group, with rent continuing to be calculated the way it is now (approximately 30% of gross household income), or a treatment group, to which the new rent policy will apply. The new rent policy groups households by income into tiers. Within each tier, all households will pay the same rent portion. Income reexaminations will occur every three years rather than every year. If a household’s income increases into a higher income tier, its rent will not change until the triennial income reexamination. Certain households, such as elderly and disabled households, will be excluded from participating in the new rent policy in accordance with HUD guidelines.
Will I be required to work?
No, work requirements are not included in AMHA’s MTW plan at this time. AMHA will encourage self-sufficiency through job training, education programs, and/or other activities that support economic self-sufficiency.
Will I have to move?
No, you will not have to move from your current unit due to AMHA joining the MTW program.
How long will AMHA be an MTW agency?
MTW agencies complete a twenty-year contract.
Please continue to check back on this page for further updates. You may also ask questions or provide comments at any time by calling our MTW information line at (330) 825-6987 or email MTW@AkronHousing.Org.