DHA: Housing solutions for north texas

Get the facts.

Report facts, not opinions, when precious affordable housing resources are at stake.

With a Mayoral race in Dallas coming up in nine months, it’s political season.

Unfortunately, DHA along with other government agencies and leaders get dragged into these dynamics.

Misinformed reporters have published stories about DHA that do not accurately depict the Board of Commissioners’ governance of the agency, leadership team’s management of the agency or its financial condition.

The Dallas Morning News opinion piece, published on August 24, 2018, has major factual errors that need to be corrected.

 
 
 

Financial & Operational Integrity

DHA is not mismanaged. In fact, DHA recently received its 2017 independent audit report from CohnReznick, LLP. The audit shows no findings or deficiencies for four consecutive years. As per the report, DHA’s financial statements, program management and internal controls tested PASSED without any findings.

In addition, DHA’s Housing Choice Voucher and public housing programs have earned ‘HIGH PERFORMER’ status, which is HUD’s highest rating. The performance measures show whether public housing agencies help eligible families to afford decent rental units at a reasonable subsidy cost as intended by federal housing legislation.

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Shortfall

The projected shortfall for DHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program was not reported accurately. DHA has not spent its Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) budget in the first half of this year. In fact, the current shortfall projection is less than one month of its total annual HAP expenses. 

 

CURRENT FUNDING STATUS

DHA is fully funded for the 16,700+ voucher families it supports today. 

It’s important to note, HAP funding can only be utilized for Housing Assistance Payments on behalf of DHA’s current voucher families. 

HUD bases PHA’s Housing Choice Voucher HAP funding on prior year expenses. HUD understands that this methodology does not consider current market conditions which may lead to PHAs inability to fully fund current year HAP expense. To provide for additional funding to PHAs, Congress appropriates and HUD disperses ‘Shortfall’ funding each year. 


The need for additional HAP funding is a result of several conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Rapidly increasing rents in the Dallas / DFW rental market – as reported in an EnrichedData.com Historical Apartment Rent/Square Foot Quarterly Report for the Dallas Forth Worth Market (August 2018), there has been a 12 percent increase in rent rates per square foot since December 2016 
  • DHA’s Housing Voucher program Housing Assistance Payment expenses have significantly increased which is a result of higher rents, lower tenant incomes and moves of DHA clients from high poverty areas to low poverty areas where the rents are substantially higher
  • DHA received a significantly higher number of rent increase requests from current landlords during 2018 as compared to prior years

shortfall Funding explained

Other PHAs in North Texas, as well as around the country, have also accessed shortfall funding in recent years. Congress has appropriated $75 million this fiscal year for any PHAs that have experienced a rapid increase in Housing Assistance Payment expenses.

WHAT WE'RE DOING

DHA’s leadership team proactively implemented cost containment measures and is working closely with HUD. DHA anticipates that HUD will provide the appropriate levels of funding toward the end of the year, when the funds are required. 


Chronology

  • March 23, 2018: Congress passed The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which includes a set-aside of $75 million for Housing Choice Voucher Shortfall Funding
  • April 2018: DHA analyzed 2018 Q1 HAP expenses, and informed HUD of the projected shortfall 
  • April 30, 2018: DHA initiated Shortfall Procedures
  • May 2, 2018: DHA notified landlords and clients of shortfall and operational impacts
  • May 21, 2018: HUD published PIH Notice 2018-09, “Implementation of Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program” informs all PHAs how to apply for shortfall funding
  • May 23, 2018: DHA filed its shortfall application with HUD
  • June 26, 2018: DHA met with Catholic Charities regarding the shortfall and impact to St. Jude project
  • On-going: Discussions with HUD officials to review month-over-month HAP expense management 
 
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St. Jude’s

St. Jude’s Center is a 104 unit development for homeless people age 55 and above.

DHA was proud to support St. Jude’s when first approached about the project in late 2016. Regrettably, DHA is temporarily unable to provide Housing Choice Vouchers to St. Jude’s.

DHA continues to work with St. Jude’s to explore all possible options for occupying its property.

One of those proposals is to house homeless veterans. DHA has about 100 vouchers available for veterans through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, which is funded separately from the regular HCV program. 

We currently have 100 eligible VASH voucher clients seeking housing that may be interested in the St. Jude property.

DHA approached the City of Dallas Housing/Community Services Department to help provide stopgap HAP funding for St. Jude’s clients.

DHA has also proactively contacted Arlington, Dallas County and Ft. Worth housing authorities to see if they can house any of their homeless seniors at St. Jude’s.

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Governance

DHA has no requirements to have the city council approve its annual report.

DHA is governed by its Board of Commissioners and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Mayor appoints the governing board, the city council does not have governance over DHA.

DHA’s president and CEO, Troy Broussard served as an active member of the Opportunity Dallas Task Force, which delivered a series of policy recommendations for the City of Dallas Comprehensive Housing Policy. 

The personal information requested regarding DHA’s HCV families is protected under HUD privacy requirements. It was also ruled by the Texas Attorney General that this data is not subject to Open Records Act requests. In addition, DHA was not willing to risk its clients' safety by sharing personal identification information. DHA also has a duty to protect families who may be protected under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The City could not guarantee this information would not be released if requested under City of Dallas Freedom of Information Act Requests.

DHA is an independent, local government entity, unlike the Dallas City Housing/Community Services department, which is governed by the City of Dallas. While the two organizations share ‘Dallas’ and ‘housing’ in their name; their missions, governance and funding resources are distinctly different.

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Quality, Affordable Housing

DHA provides quality, affordable housing to low-income families and individuals through the effective and efficient administration of housing assistance programs across North Texas. The agency aims to create opportunities for program participants to achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence. DHA provides housing opportunities to 54,000 people through public housing developments and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs. It is the 10th largest public housing agency in the nation and manages the fourth largest Housing Choice Voucher program.

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