Presentation Minutes

Pierce County Housing Authority -

  • Tamara Meade, Director of Supported housing programs, Pierce County Housing Authority -
  • The Pierce County Housing Authority manages some 3,000 section 8 vouchers.
  • Also owns 125 single family homes – 3 and 4 bedroom homes – in areas like Bonney Lake, Spanaway, Gig Harbor.
    • Income requirements – 50% and under (but 40% of households must be 30% and under)
    • If you have too much income, you must exit the program after 2 years.
  • On the 17th, opening waitlist for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program – currently have 169 people left on the list.  Of the 1,500 on the list, would love to say we housed them all.  But, we have a problem when we notify the tenants, many are transient and tough to get ahold of.  In March, we tried to get ahold of 500 applicants, but only got ahold of 200.  We not only have trouble finding people, but we also have trouble getting landlords to accept vouchers. 
  • Are putting resources to landlord involvement.  We got 70 additional Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing(VASH) Vouchers (vouchers proving rent subsidies and case management for chronically homeless veterans –ed.), so now have 239, with 20 more coming along at the end of the year.
  • Tacoma Housing Authority and Pierce County Housing Authority are very different.
    • Tacoma Housing Authority is Moving To Work .  Pierce County Housing Authority is not – so we have more limits on use because of HUD rules. 
    • We are everywhere in Pierce County, except Tacoma city limits 
    • Tacoma Housing Authority can use vouchers in City of Tacoma and in Lakewood. (Tacoma can also go 2.5 miles outside the Tacoma city limit) 
    • PCHA can also do all of the 98444 zip code (which includes Pierce County’s premier mini-golf course – Parkland Putters - 10636 Sales Rd S.  Four full 18 hole mini golf courses.  The “Boat Course” is the flashy one, but serious mini-golfers know the back 18 is where you test you mettle.  Don’t try the “left course” is your marriage is on the rocks – the strain could put you over the edge. Anyway, if you haven’t been to Parkland Putters, you are missing out on the good living life has to offer –ed)
  • On Monday, the PCHA project waitlist opened.
  • We don’t do 2 heartbeats per room.  We do split genders into separate rooms when one turns 7 years old.  However, we don’t separate sexes by age – Grandmas can live in same room with a 3 year old.  We just use it to calculate the rent. 
  • Question – people who come in with evictions with THA and are applying with PCHA.  What does that look like, can the eviction be paid off.  In PCHA, you are denied if evicted from a public housing authority in the last 3 years.  If you owe money to a housing authority, no voucher will be given until you pay off the housing authority.  It doesn’t bar you from waitlist, just from getting the voucher.  We will start notifying clients about to receive a voucher a few months prior to receiving the voucher.  The voucher must be used within 120 days – and that is a lot to ask for someone that has to get their credit up and pay off landlords.  If they have notice, they may be able to get their house in order (so to speak –ed.) so they are able to use the voucher the day they receive it.
  • We do have class to help folks with the challenges of finding housing and cleaning up credit and debt.   
  • Joyce – like Tacoma Housing Authority, do client have skin in the game – do the clients have to be accountable?   Tamara – we notify clients ahead of time or via e-mail.  We make folks do stuff on-line.  Want to get folks to respond.  Many clients don’t have minutes on phone or mailing addresses.  Will take any suggestion on how to get folks to respond.  After 14 days, we take you off the waitlist.  And with the voucher, clients to pay 1/3 of their income to rent. 
  • Marybeth – owing money to housing authority – is that different than owing to the landlord.  Tamara - If it is tenant-based, unpaid rent is owed to the landlords.
  • The waitlist that opens on the 17th, we pull from the waitlist via a lottery.    
  • Sherri – how many of the 62% of folks you can contact are eligible for the voucher.  Tamara - Leasing success is 43%. 
  • Lavada – getting the client prepared – what about the young folks between 25 and 30 where parents used their identify and screwed up their credit?  What about them?  Tamara – with the “Ready to Rent Program – staff know how to clean up credit and dispute agencies.  Once on the program, can go into the “family self-sufficiency program”. 
  • Joyce – who teaches the renter readiness program? – Tamara – The community development division at the Pierce County Housing Authority (I’ve been working with non-profits too long, whenever I hear development, I always think euphemism for “fundraising” –ed).
  • Joyce – 200-300 vouchers – where do folks go to in the private market to find a landlord.  Tamara - 30% of monthly income goes to rent.  Even with the voucher, 55% of households are rent burdened.  Payment standards are keeping up with rents.  Going to board to increase payment standards to 110% of Fair market Rent. 
  • John – talk about contacting the client.  I understand the difficulty in getting the client to respond.  Could we make the client more responsible to contact you?  Tamara – our waitlist is all done on-line and they have to have an e-mail address.  We partner with PC library systems.  That is the computer lab they can use.  We can shift the responsibility back to the client.  Even then, often clients do not have the minutes to use a phone or a way to make contact. 
  • Lavada – there are issues with the library computer systems – over half of the folks told to do this are computer illiterate – and library staff doesn’t have time to assist. (I’d have a chat with the librarians if you witness this.  As a Librarian (non-practicing, sadly) I can say with some authority, that isn’t the world they are trying to create. –ed)  Tamara – our on-line system has been very successful.  When on paper, we got 200 applications in a month.  Switching  to on-line, we had 1,800 applicants over only a week. 
  • We own 7 apt complexes that are affordable housing owned by Pierce County Housing Authority – open to anyone.  Are run  with as low a cost rent as possible.  Some project-based vouchers are for Permanent Support Housing.  All come through referrals in the Coordinate Entry System, and are run by agencies like LASA, Helping Hand House, REACH, and others (like Catholic Community Services – just sayin’ –ed.)
  • Patricia – lots of folks who can’t access e-mail – use texts and chat and facebook. (Word always underlines facebook because it wants me to capitalize it.  I always feel like Word is pushing for facebook to get some respect from me.  Not happening. –ed.) Tamara – we’ll  look into that. 
  • Lynn – Parkland Manor – if a client lives in Parkland Manor and qualifies for voucher – is she consider housed by you all?  Tamara -  Parkland Manor is project-based.  The Housing Choice Voucher is a different program, and they can apply for that voucher when in the project-based program.  Clients can be on all three lists at the same time.  HCV is a tenant based program  - allows you to live in areas where you might have more opportunities (like next to Parkland Putters? –ed)
  • Lynn – Income-wise- someone that got SSI when they applied, is that OK?  Tamara – good as long as you are under-income.  However, Housing Choice Vouchers do have a work preference – if clients work 20 or more hours per week they get a higher priority on the list.
  • Waitlist open on the 17th.  Pull of new waitlist in November or December of this year.  Doesn’t matter when they apply during that period – it is a lottery. 
  • Patricia – how does preference work?  Tamara - the HCV voucher has no preferences (my notes contradict each other about this aspect, and I’ve lost my interest in researching, so this will just need to be a little mystery…-ed.)
  • 2 waitlists –
    • September 17th opening is section 8, traditional  Housing Choice Voucher – which clients  can take to private landlords 

Public housing waitlist opened this week – where the existing unit is subsidized by the housing authority.   

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