House Bill Would Further Expand Moving to Work
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently introduced H.R. 5137, “The Moving to Work Reformation and Expansion Act of 2016.” Thirty-nine public housing agencies (PHAs) currently participate in the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration. Their MTW agreements were recently extended until 2028. In addition, the FY 2016 Appropriations Act authorized expanding the MTW demonstration to at least another 100 PHAs.
The proposed bill would remove the cap on the number of PHAs that can participate in MTW and change the status of MTW from a demonstration to a full program. The bill would allow at least 25 PHAs each year to apply to become MTW agencies, at least 10 of which would have to be smaller PHAs that have fewer than 6,000 public housing units and vouchers combined.
H.R. 5137 would retain the three purposes of the original MTW authorization: promoting resident economic independence, reducing costs, and increasing resident housing choices, as well as MTW’s central component of allowing PHAs approved for MTW status to seek waivers from most statutes and regulations governing the public housing and voucher programs.
As is currently required, MTW agencies would have to submit an annual report to HUD indicating how their public housing and voucher funds were used. The bill would require an annual report to describe and analyze the effects of a PHA’s MTW activities on the three purposes of the program. In particular, the report would have to indicate the number of new families assisted as a result of MTW flexibilities, changes in household incomes, and cost savings.
H.R. 5137 doesn’t propose to change the existing requirements that each MTW PHA continue to assist substantially the same total number of families and to maintain a comparable mix of families, by family size, as would have been assisted prior to the PHA’s MTW designation. In addition, at least 75 percent of the families assisted would still have to have incomes less than 50 percent of area median income.