First Resident and Participant Information/Comment Opportunity for MTW Tonight!

What policies can HRHA change to improve rent structure, certifications, and other elements that impact my voucher? How can HRHA improve my opportunists to achieve self-sufficiency?

The Board of Commissioners meeting will be September 16, 4:00pm, at the HRHA Main office on 286 Kelley St.

The first of many opportunities for residents and participants to learn more about the Moving to Work (MtW) process is this evening at the Board of Commissioners Meeting. Residents of HRHA and participants in the HCV program are invited to attend (masked and distanced) or may call in at the number below. The meeting starts at 4:00pm and is held at the HRHA Main Office, 286 Kelley St in Harrisonburg.

To learn more about MtW and learn/provide input at the September 16 4:00pm meeting, please call:

1 – 929 – 205 – 6099

Enter the Meeting ID: 856 8954 0424 when prompted.

What does the CDC Eviction Moratorium Mean for Me?

The information below is from HUD Assistant Secretary Hunter Kurtz. The Declaration required to be considered under the order can be found HERE.

On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Notice and Order under Section 361of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 264) and 42 CFR § 70.2, available here. To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Order is a temporary halt in residential evictions. This Order is separate from the now expired eviction moratorium in Section 4024 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

The Order applies to all tenants in the country (including assisted renters) who are subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent and who submit a Declaration as described in the Order (HERE). The Order is in effect from September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

The Order does not relieve any tenant from paying rent and following the rules or the law. Evictions for other violations of the lease or criminal acts may still occur under this Order.

Under the Order, tenants cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent, provided the tenant signs the Declaration that is attached to the CDC Order certifying that:

  1. They have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), were not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. They are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. They are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as their circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  5. If evicted they would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because they have no other available housing options.
  6. They understand they must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that they may have under their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. The understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected; and
  7. They understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, their housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make them subject to eviction.

The Order does not relieve the tenants’ obligation to pay rent and the tenants must continue to comply with terms under the lease. However, tenants qualifying as “Covered Persons” under the Order cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent in violation of the lease if the CDC eviction protections are invoked (see below). Nothing in the Order precludes the landlords from charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the tenants’ inability to pay rent on a timely basis. Evictions unrelated to nonpayment of rent can still take place, e.g., criminal activity. Any state, local, or territorial area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection can supersede the Order.

Under the Order, public housing and section 8 tenants are “Covered Persons” with eviction protection if they complete and provide the required Declaration referenced in the Order to their PHA or landlord. A tenant cannot be required to complete the Declaration. However, without it, tenants will not have the CDC eviction protection.

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HRHA continues to reach out to tenants behind on rent and encourages clear and quick communication from tenants to work out a repayment plan.

HRHA selected for Cohort #1 of HUD’s Moving to Work Expansion

The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) has been selected to participate in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cohort #1 of the Moving to Work expansion. This notification represents our intent to participate in the MtW demonstration and of our desire to receive public input on the plan development. Participation in the MtW expansion will allow HRHA to develop local policies to enhance our resident/ participant’s self-sufficiency outcomes, improve access and availability of housing, and implement evidence base strategies that promote program efficiency and efficacy. We are excited for this opportunity. 

HRHA has scheduled two resident/participant information and input meetings to be held by phone. Open to residents of Lineweaver and

 Franklin Heights, and HCV participants. 

September 16 at 4:00 PM (Meeting ID: 856 8954 0424)

September 30th at 4:00 PM (Meeting ID: 873 0086 8918)

To provide input at these meetings, please call 1 – 929 – 205 – 6099

Enter Meeting ID when prompted.

A public comment meeting on the draft plan is also scheduled for October 21 at 4:00 PM at the Board of Commissioners meeting. We will post publicly as additional opportunities become available. We will also be connecting with our community partners as plans develop. 

If you have any questions concerning the MtW expansion, please contact

Michael Wong, Executive Director at 540-434-7386 or wongway@harrisonburgrha.com

For more on the MtW expansion, visit our website at: www.harrisonburgrha.com/MTW

Family Self-Sufficiency graduate Alina pursues home ownership

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a 5-year program funded by HUD and coordinated by HRHA staff. Program participants work with one of our coordinators to establish goals around finance, education, work, and family at the start of the program. Participants sign a 5-year contract committing to work with us to reach their goals, increase their income, and become more self-sufficient.

FSS Graduate Alina holding graduation certificate at the Reservoir St Office

Alina with her FSS graduation certificate – August 2020

The FSS program is one of our most successful programs. With their housing costs subsidized, individuals and families are better able to focus on other critical pieces of self-sufficiency like reliable transportation, higher education or training, financial literacy, and more. As participants increase their income in the program, a portion of their increased rent payment is put in a savings (escrow) account. This money becomes available to them upon program graduation. Every year graduates leave our program better equipped to support themselves and their families.

This August, Alina Santos graduated from FSS. Alina started the program in 2015 without a job and with a substantial amount of debt. Through the five years, Alina worked with her FSS Coordinator to secure a job at Purdue and eventually Aarons, where she sees job growth opportunity. She worked on her financial literacy and management, paying of debts and raising her credit score from 400 to over 650. She began building an escrow (savings) as her income increased. She used some of her savings to buy a reliable car, saving the rest to have options for a down payment on a house down the road. She is currently working with our Homebuyer Assistance program and has completed the online homebuyer preparation course.

Western Virginia Continuum of Care Welcomes New Coordinator

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) is proud to announce and welcome Isaiah Mejah as the new CoC Coordinator.  Mejah will be responsible for providing administrative and project leadership in planning, developing, writing, and monitoring the CoC administrative plans, policy and procedures, grants, and Continuum lead initiatives to end homelessness in the region. Mejah will work primarily out of the Reservoir St Office of HRHA.

Isaiah Mejah standing against a wall

Isaiah Mejah has been named the new Western Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) Coordinator. He will be working out of HRHA’s Reservoir St office.

Mejah comes to the Western Virginia CoC from Pleasant View, Inc., where he served as Program Coordinator.  During to his tenure at Pleasant View, Mejah coordinated daily activities for two programs and collaborated with various community stakeholders in the health and advocacy field to ensure members of our community with disabilities meet their full potential.  In his role at Pleasant View, Mejah supervised 30 members of staff, conducted inter-organizational communications, and stayed updated on state and federal regulations related to programming at Pleasant View.  In addition to his role as Program Coordinator, Mejah also served as Green Committee Chair to support Pleasant View in meeting their financial needs and bolstering plans for the future.  Prior to his work at Pleasant View, Mejah worked at James Madison University (JMU).  Mejah received his Master of Arts in Communication and Advocacy from JMU and is fluent in four languages.

 

Mejah stepped into the CoC Coordinator position on July 27.

 

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) is a collaboration of nonprofits, governments, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, and community members that works to prevent and end homelessness in the Shenandoah Valley. The CoC area includes Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren Counties, and the Cities of Winchester and Harrisonburg.

HRHA invites public comments to 2021 Annual Plans

Public Comment Notice

 

The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners Meeting will receive public comment on its proposed FY 2021 Annual Plan, Admission and Continued Occupancy Policies and Budgets at its meeting on August 19, 2020 beginning at 4:00 PM, or as soon thereafter as possible.  This meeting will be held at the Authority’s administrative office located at 286 Kelley Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

 

The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority announces that its proposed FY2021 Annual Plan, FY2021 Budget, Administrative Plan for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policies for JR “Polly” Lineweaver, Lineweaver Annex, Franklin Heights and Commerce Village programs will be available for public review and comment beginning August 19, 2020 through October 3, 2020.  Copies may be obtained during office hours at the Authority’s administrative office, located at 286 Kelley Street, Harrisonburg, VA as well as on its website, https://harrisonburgrha.com/document-center/#board-of-commissioners-reports–minutes

HRHA Extends Eviction Moratorium Through August 24, 2020

At July’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the board unanimously approved a 30 day extension of the CARES Act eviction moratorium which was set to expire July 24, 2020. This is for residents participating in all HRHA housing programs. The new date is August 24, 2020. We encourage all tenants that are behind on their rents to either contact their property managers or private landlords to explore establishing a payment plan.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided some helpful resources for both residents and landlords to plan for and implement strategies to keep families stably housed and mitigate economic hardships due to COVID-19.

Residents and Tenants can check out the resources in the July 2020 HUD Tenant Pamphlet

Landlords can learn more about working with tenants to prevent eviction in the July 2020 HUD Landlord Pamphlet 

Goal Met: Over 1,000 masks in two weeks

In two weeks community members of Harrisonburg and Rockingham county helped supply HRHA with over 1,000 cloth face masks.

We are so grateful for all the masks that came in and the many hands who made them. We still welcome mask donations, though will not be able to provide compensation at this time. Please check in with other local organizations who may have a more pressing need for masks.

Thank you for helping increase the safety and well-being of our whole community by ensuring our residents have a face mask when they leave the house.

Thank you!

COVID-19 Temporary Waivers & Alternative Requirements

Summary of Public Housing and HCV Temporary Waivers and Alternative Requirements

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released waivers and alternative requirements for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. HRHA has adopted specific waivers noted in the chart linked below, effective April 15, 2020, with the respective time frames and details included.

View: HRHA COVID-19 Temporary Waivers & Alternative Requirements

Community Call for Cloth Face Masks

The Harrisonburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority (HRHA) is asking for community support in providing washable face masks for our residents and staff. We will also connect donated masks to those experiencing homelessness and the community members who work with them. HRHA is willing to provide compensation. Masks can be dropped off at our main office at 286 Kelley St in Harrisonburg. We are aiming to gather and distribute 1,000 cloth face masks over the next month. Can you help us do that?

Questions? Contact our Resident Services Coordinator Everett Brubaker
– Through our Facebook page
– Though email: ebrubaker@harrisonburgrha.com
– Through the website contact form

You may also call our main office M-F 9:00am to 4:30pm at 540 – 434- 7386

Please share with your neighbors and networks!

Instructions for making cloth face masks from the CDC