CHA Proposes Pilot Program

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

The Chicago Housing Authority proposed a pilot program for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program that would provide voucher holders with services and job training to determine if a time limit on voucher use is feasible, potentially making more vouchers available sooner to those waiting for affordable housing. “In Chicago and across the nation, an ever-greater number of people are rent-burdened and applying for rental assistance and, because the prospect of increasing the number of available rental subsidy vouchers is unlikely, CHA is exploring whether, if by creating time limits on HCV holders and providing intensive social and job training services to them, individuals and families can realize the increased income and stability to move confidently out of the HCV program and pay market rent,” CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. said.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

The pilot program involves 100 households with a range of incomes selected from the waiting list who agree to enroll in the pilot program. According to CHA, this pilot program is not for seniors, persons with disabilities or others who need long term assistance. It is important to note that there is a safety net for anyone who does choose to participate in the pilot program. Anyone who needs a subsidy at the end of the pilot time period will be allowed to remain in the program, with the only difference being that their subsidy would be frozen at their current level. “This is another way we are working to create some flexibility in our programs and potentially increase access to vouchers so more people would be able to get housed more quickly,” Jones said. “We remain committed to identifying innovative ways that balance the need for housing support with the ever-growing demand for affordable housing among low income individuals and families in Chicago.” The pilot program would not affect current voucher holders or change their housing support in any way, Jones noted. The proposal awaits approval by HUD before CHA can proceed with the program. CHA will then present the proposal for approval to the CHA Board of Commissioners.

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