Applications will be accepted three times a week during designated business hours.
The decision to open the waiting list will depend upon local circumstances as determined with assistance from the local Continuum of Care (CoC).
Tenant Selection, Marketing, and Outreach (cont’d)
The project will accept applications on-site either by appointment or on a walk-in basis from families for whom the waiting list is open.
The list will remain open for approximately two weeks.
Even when it is apparent to staff that a particular family may be found ineligible, any family requesting an application when the list is open will be allowed to apply.
If in subsequent evaluations of the application, the household is found to be ineligible, COTS will inform the family in writing of the reason for its ineligibility and of the family’s right to request an appeal of the decision.
The application process will be accessible to handicapped, elderly, and disabled populations.
Before closing the waiting list, we will take it into consideration if there are enough applicants to account for contract turnovers and vouchers that are issued but do not result in a Tenant Lease.
We will use a lottery selection approach for accepting applications.
Those selected are randomly ordered on a waiting list. Applications not selected for the waiting list will be discarded but documentation will be maintained.
Tenant Selection, Marketing, and Outreach (cont’d)
Families wishing to participate in the Housing First TBRA program must complete an application according to the method required by the MSHDA.
Applicants will first complete a streamlined, abbreviated pre-application form as the first step in the application process.
Pre-applications will be screened by the Housing Specialist to determine initial eligibility and effectively screen out obviously ineligible applicants before placing them on the waiting list.
We will not complete a full application until the family is selected from the waiting list, just prior to the expected availability of assistance.
COTS has been providing housing assistance and conducting income verifications for homeless families in Detroit since 1981.
COTS will make the application process accessible to handicapped, elderly, and disabled populations to comply with Section 504 program accessibility requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Fair Housing Act
Tenant Selection, Marketing, and Outreach (cont’d)
The basic goals of the outreach strategy are to:
Stimulate and sustain interest in the program
Provide helpful information to potential participants
The objective of the strategy is to create a waiting list that represents the various groups within the community that are in need of housing.
Outreach materials will provide easily understood and usable information that is expressed in simple and direct terms.
Outreach will also include efforts to reach persons with disabilities.
All advertising and outreach literature will include the equal housing opportunity logo and non-discrimination in the advertising message.
The goals of the program announcement and marketing strategy are designed to ensure:
That information about the program reaches the broadest possible range of potentially qualified applicants.
That it affirmatively furthers fair housing objectives by identifying those households ‘least likely to apply’.
Program announcement to the local CoC on March 30, 2007.
COTS currently has approximately 10 certified HQS Inspectors on staff.
COTS has been conducting HQS inspections for over five years.
HQS inspection will be conducted on an annual basis for all units to be utilized by program participants.
Since the standards for inspecting units for lead-based paint hazards are part of HQS inspections, the same staff will be responsible for Visual Assessments and issuing clearances when paint repairs are required.
Once COTS receives all required documents from the owner and the referral source, we will check to make sure the information provided is complete and accurate.
If the proposed rent is affordable and reasonable, COTS will contact the owner to schedule a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection of the unit.
When the unit passes inspection, the tenant may move into the unit. At this point, the Housing Specialist prepares the Rental Assistance Contract, and sends the contract and Tenancy Addendum to the owner.
After the owner receives the RAC and Tenancy Addendum from COTS, the owner signs the lease and the Tenancy Agreement with the tenant, signs the RAC, and returns a copy of all three signed documents to COTS.
The initial term of the lease is generally 12 months.
If the tenant wants to start using a Housing Choice Voucher for a unit in which he or she has been living, a new lease will be required.
Every month, owners will receive part of each voucher holder’s rent from COTS.
Supportive Services for will be made available to all program participants.
The overall objective of these services are to assist homeless families with children by addressing their specific underlying causes of homelessness with the ultimate outcome of increasing their economic self-sufficiency in order to obtain and or maintain permanent housing.
When a family selects a housing unit, and COTS approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. If the tenant is required to pay a security deposit to the landlord, COTS will pay it on their behalf.
If an owner violates the RAC, COTS may suspend payments and will investigate the situation to determine if the contract should be terminated.
Owners can be barred from the program for a serious breach of contract as determined by MSHDA. The owner can terminate tenancy for any reason permitted under the lease or lease addendum.
The family may terminate tenancy after the first year of the lease. Terminations by the family during the first year are allowed only if the owner agrees to release the family from the lease.
Owners must immediately notify COTS if a family no longer occupies the assisted unit. Housing assistance payments made to an owner after a participant has vacated the assisted unit must be returned immediately.
Having a coupon is not a guarantee against eviction.
Property owners will be notified to inform COTS when beginning eviction proceedings against a tenant.
If they are in the process of evicting a tenant, they cannot accept the COTS portion of the rent.
Termination of Tenancy & Tenant Moves (cont’d)
COTS One Strike policy terminates a household’s eligibility for receiving continued TBRA assistance for one year if any household member was evicted for violent or drug related criminal activity or sexual offenses against minors.
After the initial lease term, tenants can move to a new unit and apply their housing subsidy there.
Tenants who wish to move must re-submit income and household information and receive a new coupon.
TBRA Coupons under the HomeGain Housing First For Families are "portable."
Our owner outreach strategy will provide homeless families with a wide range of housing choices while serving as an economic base to the property owner community.
Property owners will be made aware of the many benefits for participating in the program such as a steady monthly cash flow, an additional pool of tenants, less turnover, free rental advertising.
COTS has several long-standing relationships with several property owners in Detroit and surrounding areas that will facilitate TBRA participants in finding acceptable units. Currently, we maintain a comprehensive database of these relationships and review it on a monthly basis.
Anticipated barriers to landlord/owner participation include credit, sparse rental history, and utility balances.
Each participant in the HomeGain Housing First for Families project will be strongly encouraged to attend a tenant education seminar after the program briefing.
Participants will complete a minimum of twelve hours of education earn a Certificate of Completion.
Additionally, a partnering agency, the United Community Housing Coalition, has agreed to negotiate lease terms with and on behalf of clients and mediate conflicts between landlord and tenants.
In alignment with our plan for targeting the service needs and engaging program participants, several services that respond to the major life-skill need areas will be offered (Table 1) both on-site and in the community.
Transportation needs will be addressed with the provision of public transpiration tickets and coordinated services with partnering agencies. Other supplementary service needs will be addressed on a case by case basis through community based referrals.
Both service delivery effectiveness and participant outcomes will be regularly (monthly) evaluated in light of the expected initiative and ten-year plan outcomes along with alignment with identified best practices.
As soon as participants are assessed, a Family Case Plan (FCP) is developed that will include short, intermediate, and long-term goals. The intent of these goals will be housing independence within a 24-month term. Both Family Case Planners and program participants will set indicators of successful progress towards this intent.
Supportive Services Plan (cont’d) Supportive Service Provider Service COTS Supportive Housing Program Case management Capuchin Soup Kitchen Emergency furniture and appliances American Society of Employers Facilitation of quarterly career development workshops (includes materials) Focus Hope Facilitation of quarterly career development workshops (includes materials) and a commitment of training funds ($1000.00 per participant). Detroit Workforce Development Department Facilitation of quarterly career development workshops (includes materials), the creation and maintenance of a streamlined referral process, and a commitment of training funds ($600.00 per participant). United Community Housing Coalition Conduct Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections, manage landlord tenant disputes, and landlord outreach
Of the 47 participants who receive TBRA Coupons in the period from July 2007 to July 2009, 75% will initiate tenancy within our initial 60 day issuance period.
Of the 47 participants who receive TBRA Coupons in the period from July 2007 to July 2009, 75% will remain stably housed 6 months thereafter.
Of the 47 participants who receive TBRA Coupons in the period from July 2007 to July 2008, 70% will remain stably housed 12 months thereafter.
Of the 47 participants who receive TBRA Coupons in the period from July 2007 to July 2009, 85% will report that the services they received were effective in helping them achieve their individual identified safety, housing, or life goals.
Of the 47 participants 70% will move or transition into safe, decent, permanent, and affordable housing of their choosing before the end of their two year TBRA Contract.