In August, the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) published a document titled “Guidance for Successful Implementation of Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Choice-Mobility.” The document provides suggestions for a PHA to best implement its choice mobility requirement. The choice mobility requirement states that tenants who live in a RAD unit have the option of using a tenant-based voucher after either a year (in project-based voucher units) or two-years (in project-based rental assistance units).
Choice-mobility plan development
Housing Agencies that participate in RAD should develop choice-mobility plans. These plans should be developed before residents are eligible to exercise their choice-mobility rights. In creating plans, PHAs should consider the following:
- Policies and procedures: Effective choice-mobility plans should encompass a PHA’s policies (i.e., basic language regarding choice-mobility) and a PHA’s procedures (i.e., a tenant’s step-by-step process to gain access to a tenant-based voucher, including descriptions of the application process, waitlist procedures, post-voucher obligations, and things to consider with a tenant-based voucher).
- Accessibility: Make sure that plans are accessible to people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency.
- Turnover: Consider how to “issue vouchers in a way that achieves balance between RAD Choice-Mobility and [an agency’s] regular HCV program.”
- Project owners: Ensure that specific responsibilities for owners are created with monitoring mechanisms. Agencies should also train owners.
- No screening: Do not screen applicants for choice-mobility to maximize the number of residents who have the option.
- Vacating RAD units: Avoid requiring residents to vacate their RAD unit before a lease has been entered into with the tenant-based voucher. Also, notify the tenant of their right to remain in their RAD unit if the tenant fails to secure a new unit.
Notify residents of their choice-mobility rights
Housing agencies should provide RAD tenants with easy to understand information on their choice-mobility rights. Agencies should also make their comprehensive choice-mobility plan available to residents before they are eligible to move. Additionally, PHAs may want to consider using “posters, flyers, and FAQs”; meeting with residents to explain their rights; conducting presentations to residents; providing other written information at meetings; and tracking when residents are eligible for choice-mobility.
Maximizing choice-mobility’s efficacy
There are several things that a PHA can do to help families effectively use their choice-mobility option. These things include using small area fair market rents or exception payment standards; conducting landlord outreach in areas of opportunity; and ensure residents understand the benefits of areas of opportunity through search counseling and neighborhood tours.
The full document has additional detail on all of these topics and can be found here.