The duties of this position include a wide range of activities related to determining and documenting participant eligibility, income, rent, contractual relationships with owners in support of the community’s HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program, interfacing with Coordinated Access, Case Management staff, landlords, and data entry into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The Housing Specialist may perform admissions, re-certifications, interim adjustments, rent increases and deal with both participant and landlord problems. Reports to the HOME TBRA OMHHOMH Program Manager.
PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Duties as Assigned
- Interfacing with the Coordinated Access system to receive incoming referrals.
- Interfacing with Case Management Intermediary and with assigned Case Management staff paired with all incoming referrals to the HOME TBRA program.
- Conduct eligibility interviews with applicant either at the Houston Housing Authority (HHA) office or in the field as needed.
- Conduct annual re-certifications for families whose assistance extends to twelve (12) months of participation.
- Verify eligibility of referrals based on family composition and verification of literal homelessness.
- Document family composition, citizenship or eligible immigrant status and social security numbers of family members over age six (or certification that no number exists) in accordance with HUD requirements.
- Determine the voucher size for which each family qualifies.
- Issue leasing packets and brief program participants, emphasizing housing opportunities outside areas of minority and low income concentration.
- Set-up complete and accurate files with all necessary participant-supplied documents and third party verifications (or documentation of why third party verifications are not present).
- Receive Intent to Lease forms, HAP contracts (with HUD-required Tenancy Addendum) Inspection reports, rent reasonableness determinations and leases. Place required documentation in participant files and authorize HAP payments to owner.
- Maintain continuous internal communication with Finance & Inspection departments.
- Communicate initial payment amounts, payment adjustments, and payment terminations as reported in the HMIS Housing Stabilization Plan to Finance.
- Provide rent change notices to program participants and Landlords.
- Communicate property and landlord issues to assigned Case Management Staff with 24 hours after notification if issue.
- Responsible for HMIS data entry.
HUD Annual Re-certifications, Interim Adjustments and Owner Rent Increases
- Request Inspectors to schedule and conduct annual and special inspections as needed.
- Schedule and conduct annual re-certification interviews in a manner that ensure that notices of rent increase are provided at least 30 days before the anniversary date and the entire process is completed by the anniversary date.
- When participant reports changes in family circumstances, process Interim Adjustment as needed.
- Document all information.
- Receive owner rent increase requests and forwards them to Inspectors for rent reasonableness determinations. When received, forward entire package to Program Manager to determine whether the program can afford the rent increase within available budget.
- When rent increases are approved by Program Manager, notify owner in writing and the Finance Department within two working days.
- Properly process client files as assigned within prescribed timeframe.
- Investigate and resolve participant and landlord complaints minimizing involvement of the Program Manger to the satisfaction of all parties.
- Communicate with applicants, participants, landlords/owners and co-workers in a manner that is courteous and professional.
- Answer resident and landlord questions, providing information on status of rent, damage claims, property inspections, provisions of the lease and contract, program regulations, Houston Housing Authority policies, and procedures, etc.
- Return calls to participants and landlords within one workday.
- Place information received through the mail, by fax or email in appropriate part of participant file within two workdays of receipt.
- Participate in the revision to departmental policies and procedures.
- Submit monthly performance reports as required.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES
- Knowledge of HUD policies, and other federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations related to low income housing, HOME TBRA, Continuum of Care Programs, and Houston Housing Authority policies.
- Knowledge of general office practices and procedures, business English and basic mathematics.
- Knowledge of spoken and written Spanish preferred.
- Knowledge of HUD HQS, inspection procedures.
- Ability to communicate interpersonally.
- Ability to communicate with and relate to persons of diverse backgrounds and abilities and to establish and maintain effective working relationships with participants, landlords and other employees.
- Ability to complete complex and detailed tasks in a timely manner.
- Ability to plan and prioritize duties.
- Most work is performed according to existing procedures or written guidelines, such as HUD regulations, handbooks, desk references, or existing records.
- The employee will frequently be required to use independent judgment in making recommendations and decisions.
COMPLEXITY / SCOPE OF WORK
- The employee performs relatively complex work requiring a deep understanding of HUD rules and requirements relative to HUD Continuum of Care eligibility, income, rent, and contract procedures. In addition, the employee must be able to handle complex interpersonal situations involving conflicts between assisted tenants and landlords with skill and professionalism.
- The employee works with the RRH program, participants, landlords and other employees.
- The employee’s work is essential to the successful operation of the HOME TBRA program.
- The employee’s efforts affect the Houston Housing Authority’s ability to earn administrative fees and to obtain additional funding.
- The employee receives work assignments and instructions from the HOME TBRA Program Manager. Normally, the instructions are broad and general, both written and oral. In unusual situations the supervisor may specify how to accomplish assigned work.
- The employee must be able to work independently, performing relatively complex work in an accurate and timely manner without close supervision. Situations not covered by instructions may be referred to the supervisor or handled by the employee, depending on the circumstances.
- The employee's work is reviewed sporadically for thoroughness, accomplishment of objectives, and compliance with existing policies and procedures.
- Employee has no supervisory responsibilities.
- The employee has continual contact with other employees, program participants, and landlords. Most contacts are structured in nature and the employee is expected to use normal tact and professional courtesy.
- Occasionally a contact may be uncooperative or antagonistic, and the employee would be expected to use above-average tact and courtesy. Failure to respond courteously could adversely affect the public’s opinion of the program and the Houston Housing Authority.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS / WORK ENVIRONMENT
- Work is principally sedentary, but may involve some physical exertion, such as kneeling or crouching to obtain files, and eyestrain from working with computers and other office equipment. Additionally there is some degree of stress resulting from contact with applicants, participants, landlords, the public and other employees.
- Work involves the normal risks and discomforts associated with an office environment, but are usually in an area that is adequately cooled, heated, lighted and ventilated.
- High school diploma or equivalent required.
- Two (2) years of college course work required.
- Bachelor’s degree preferred.
- Three (3) years of experience in Continuum of Care funded programs, public housing, Housing Choice Voucher Program, case management, apartment management, HCVP Call Center or an equivalent combination of college course work and higher education (one (1) year of relevant experience is equivalent to one (1) year of relevant higher education and vice versa).
- Certification in Income, Rent and Voucher program administration required within first year of employment (training and testing is at the expense of the Houston Housing Authority).
- Valid Texas driver’s license or obtain such within the first thirty (30) days of employment.
- Eligibility for coverage under Houston Housing Authority fleet auto insurance.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.