U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Designates DCA as a High Performer on Section 8 Program

  • Posted on: 01/06/2022

DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources Received the Highest Performance Designation Possible by HUD

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today announced that DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources has scored as a high performer on the federal government’s Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP). DCA scored 99 out of 100 points, and was designated a High Performer, the highest designation possible from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). DCA has received the High Performer designation for 4 years in a row.

“In these trying times, it’s reassuring to know that New Jersey, which has one of the largest Housing Choice Voucher programs in the country, continues to provide outstanding service to residents most in need,” said Lieutenant Governor Oliver, who also serves as DCA Commissioner. “This high-performance score shows how incredibly hard our field office staff are working to administer the Section 8 Program while also carrying out a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program for those who were financially impacted by the pandemic. Their work has been nothing short of remarkable.”

A U.S. Treasury report released this Fall showed that New Jersey was first in the nation among state-administered emergency rental assistance programs in terms of percentage of Emergency Rental Assistance funds distributed.

DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources Director Janel Winter said, “The demand for safe and affordable housing in New Jersey and the need for rental assistance is great in the wake of this pandemic. This high performer score is the result of the tireless work of the entire Housing team at DCA and the regional and field office staff who have kept our program running efficiently. We thank HUD for this recognition by awarding our team this designation.”

According to HUD, SEMAP measures the performance of public housing agencies (PHAs) that administer the Housing Choice Voucher program in 14 key areas that show whether PHAs help eligible families to afford decent rental units at a reasonable subsidy cost as intended by federal housing legislation.

The 14 key indicators of PHA performance are:

  • Proper selection of applicants from the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list;
  • Sound determination of reasonable rent for each unit leased;
  • Establishment of payment standards within the required range of the HUD fair market rent;
  • Accurate verification of family income;
  • Timely annual reexaminations of family income;
  • Correct calculation of the tenant share of the rent and the housing assistance payment;
  • Maintenance of a current schedule of allowances for tenant utility costs;
  • Verification that units comply with the housing quality standards before families enter into leases and PHAs enter into housing assistance contracts;
  • Timely annual housing quality inspections;
  • Performance of quality control inspections to ensure housing quality;
  • Verification that landlords and tenants promptly correct housing quality deficiencies;
  • Verification that all available housing choice vouchers are used;
  • Expansion of housing choice outside areas of poverty or minority concentration; and
  • Enrollment of families in the family self-sufficiency (FSS) program as required and help FSS families achieve increases in employment income.

DCA received excellent performance results all around but scored exceptionally high in areas like performing quality control inspections to ensure housing quality and expanding housing choice outside areas of poverty or minority concentration.

Some key accomplishments of DCA’s Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) program this year include re-certifying 22,395 families for continued participation in the program during the pandemic. The Division also performed budget modifications for more than 30 percent of participants in the program during the pandemic, reflecting income changes. For instance, in the HCV Program, if a household’s income goes down, they are eligible to pay less toward their rent. In the past year, DCA has issued 2,638 new HCV vouchers to new families, decreasing the number on the waiting list.

DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources’ mission is to strengthen and revitalize communities through the delivery of affordable housing, supportive services, and the provision of financial and technical assistance to communities, local government and community-based organizations in New Jersey.

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media:

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Lisa Ryan,
Gina Trish,
Tammori Petty
ph#: 609-292-6055