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LTRAP HCV PROGRAM WAITING LIST NOW CLOSED. PLEASE VISIT THE PARTICIPANT INFORMATION PAGE TO CHECK YOUR STATUS ON THE WAITING LIST AND TO JOIN THE PARTICIPANT PORTAL.

600 West Kennedy Boulevard Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
600 West Kennedy Boulevard Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
732-367-0660

Public Documents

LTRAP 5 Year  & Annual Plan 2023 Draft:

Purpose.  The 5-Year and Annual PHA Plans provide a ready source for interested parties to locate basic PHA policies, rules, and requirements concerning the PHA’s operations, programs, and services, including changes to these policies, and informs HUD, families served by the PHA, and members of the public of the PHA’s mission, goals and objectives for serving the needs of low- income, very low- income, and extremely low- income families

Applicability.  The Form HUD-50075-HCV is to be completed annually by HCV-Only PHAs.  PHAs that meet the definition of a Standard PHA, Troubled PHA, High Performer PHA, Small PHA, or Qualified PHA do not need to submit this form. Where applicable, separate Annual PHA Plan forms are available for each of these types of PHAs.

DRAFT

Definitions.

 

  • High-Performer PHA – A PHA that owns or manages more than 550 combined public housing units and housing choice vouchers, and was designated as a high performer on both the most recent Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) assessments if administering both programs, or PHAS if only administering public housing.
  • Small PHA – A PHA that is not designated as PHAS or SEMAP troubled, that owns or manages less than 250 public housing units and any number of vouchers where the total combined units exceed 550.
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Only PHA – A PHA that administers more than 550 HCVs, was not designated as troubled in its most recent SEMAP assessment and does not own or manage public housing.
  • Standard PHA – A PHA that owns or manages 250 or more public housing units and any number of vouchers where the total combined units exceed 550, and that was designated as a standard performer in the most recent PHAS and SEMAP assessments.
  • Troubled PHA A PHA that achieves an overall PHAS or SEMAP score of less than 60 percent.
  • Qualified PHA – A PHA with 550 or fewer public housing dwelling units and/or housing choice vouchers combined and is not PHAS or SEMAP troubled.

 

 

A.

 

PHA Information.

 

A.1

 

PHA Name:  Lakewood Township Residential Assistance Program PHA Code: NJ214

PHA Plan for Fiscal Year Beginning: (MM/YYYY):  01/2023

PHA Inventory (Based on Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) units at time of FY beginning, above)

Number of Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) _1058

PHA Plan Submission Type:   Annual Submission                   Revised Annual Submission

Availability of Information.  In addition to the items listed in this form, PHAs must have the elements listed below readily available to the public.  A PHA must identify the specific location(s) where the proposed PHA Plan, PHA Plan Elements, and all information relevant to the public hearing and proposed PHA Plan are available for inspection by the public.  Additionally, the PHA must provide information on how the public may reasonably obtain additional information of the PHA policies contained in the standard Annual Plan but excluded from their streamlined submissions.  At a minimum, PHAs must post PHA Plans, including updates, at the main office or central office of the PHA.  PHAs are strongly encouraged to post complete PHA Plans on their official website.

PHA Consortia: (Check box if submitting a joint Plan and complete table below)

Participating PHAs PHA Code Program(s) in the Consortia Program(s) not in the Consortia No. of Units in Each Program
Lead HA:
 

B.

 

 

 

 Plan Elements. 

 

B.1

 

Revision of Existing PHA Plan Elements.

 

a)  Have the following PHA Plan elements been revised by the PHA since its last Annual Plan submission?

Y    N

N Statement of Housing Needs and Strategy for Addressing Housing Needs.

N Deconcentration and Other Policies that Govern Eligibility, Selection, and Admissions.

N Financial Resources.

N Rent Determination.

N Operation and Management.

N Informal Review and Hearing Procedures.

N Homeownership Programs.

Y Self Sufficiency Programs and Treatment of Income Changes Resulting from Welfare Program Requirements.

N Substantial Deviation.

N Significant Amendment/Modification.

(b)  If the PHA answered yes for any element, describe the revisions for each element(s):

LTRAP’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program Action Plan has been updated as required by the FSS Final Rule effective June 17, 2022

 

B.2

 

 

New Activities. – Not Applicable

 

 

B.3

Progress Report.

Provide a description of the PHA’s progress in meeting its Mission and Goals described in its 5-Year PHA Plan.

See attached.

 

B.4

 

Capital Improvements. – Not Applicable

 

 

B.5

 

Most Recent Fiscal Year Audit. 

 

(a)   Were there any findings in the most recent FY Audit?

No

Y    N   N/A

 

(b)      If yes, please describe:

 

C. Other Document and/or Certification Requirements.
 

C.1

 

Resident Advisory Board (RAB) Comments.  

(a)      Did the RAB(s) have comments to the PHA Plan?

No

Y     N

(b)      If yes, comments must be submitted by the PHA as an attachment to the PHA Plan.  PHAs must also include a narrative describing their analysis of the RAB recommendations and the decisions made on these recommendations.

 

C.2

 

Certification by State or Local Officials.

 

Form HUD 50077-SL, Certification by State or Local Officials of PHA Plans Consistency with the Consolidated Plan, must be submitted by the PHA as an electronic attachment to the PHA Plan.

 

C.3

 

Civil Rights Certification/ Certification Listing Policies and Programs that the PHA has Revised since Submission of its Last Annual Plan.

 

Form HUD-50077-ST-HCV-HP, PHA Certifications of Compliance with PHA Plan, Civil Rights, and Related Laws and Regulations

Including PHA Plan Elements that Have Changed, must be submitted by the PHA as an electronic attachment to the PHA Plan.

 

C.4

Challenged Elements. If any element of the PHA Plan is challenged, a PHA must include such information as an attachment with a description of any challenges to Plan elements, the source of the challenge, and the PHA’s response to the public.

(a)      Did the public challenge any elements of the Plan?

Y     N

If yes, include Challenged Elements.

ANNUAL PLAN 2023 – ATTACHMENT

ITEM B.3

Lakewood Tenants Organization, Inc., (LTO) in its administration of the Lakewood Township Residential Assistance Program, on behalf of the Township of Lakewood, is a well-established community-based organization with a history since 1972, of successfully providing counseling and representation for Lakewood’s tenants, in addition to its administration of over 1200 Section 8 HCV units.

LTO as the Township’s contract administrator of the Lakewood Township Residential Assistance Program (LTRAP), has been administering Section 8 programs in Lakewood for over 40 years. LTRAP has consistently maintained a leasing rate of close to 100%  and consistently receives High Performance ranking on the SEMAP score.

LTRAP has met all the goals set forth in the last Annual and 5 Year Plan. LTRAP re-opened its Waiting List online from March 29, 2022-April 12, 2022. A total of 3,000 applications were selected by random computerized lottery from all the applications submitted. These 3,000 applications were immediately placed on the Waiting List and already approximately 150 applicants have been contacted for verification of eligibility and issuance of a Housing Choice Voucher, when deemed eligible.

Over the past four decades, LTRAP has become well-known in the area. Local property owners are very familiar with our agency and are comfortable dealing with the Section 8 program. LTRAP maintains a list of participating landlords to assist tenants in locating units. We also maintain a good rapport with area real estate agencies that have often assisted our participants in finding suitable housing acceptable under Section 8 criteria.  LTRAP has developed a website at www.ltrap.org which has much useful information for both tenants and landlords. Landlords can find out information about leasing units as well as the procedures that must be followed. Additionally, they can post their units directly from the website. Our Agency has switched our landlord payments to direct deposit. This was highly successful. Landlords are thrilled to have their HAP payments in their account within the first few operating days of the month. Additionally, we have added the Landlord Access program to our website, where the landlord can view his payment history online. We have had much landlord satisfaction feedback on this issue, and have seen many area agencies follow in our footsteps. Recently, LTRAP has offered the direct deposit option to the tenants who are receiving a utility allowance payment. Several tenants have already signed up for this option. Tenants can also use our website to find out a lot of useful information that pertain to the rental and homeownership program, including how to apply when applications intake is open, whether their application was selected in the lottery, and general information about the Section 8 programs we administer. Just recently we have added a participant portal. When using this portal the applicants/participants can upload documents straight to their file and can also view documents that LTRAP has loaded to their file. This ensures that no documents are lost in transit, and that precious is time is not lost waiting for receipt of documents.

LTRAP no longer has a mandatory Family Self-Sufficiency Program, however, it still has a voluntary, growing program with over 100 participants. We have seen many successful participants in this program, many of which have gone on to purchase their own homes. LTRAP maintains a strong FSS Escrow Account and makes monthly deposits on behalf of all eligible FSS participants. Year end statements are sent to the participants detailing the activity of their account. Due to this Agency’s involvement in the FSS Program, we have developed strong connections and agreements with other local agencies. We have worked together and developed inter agency agreements to assist these participants. Due to updated FSS regulations, contained in the Final Rule effective June 17, 2022, LTRAP has had to cease enrolling new families to the program until such time as our updated Action Plan is approved by HUD. The new Action Plan includes the mandatory changes included in the Final Rule as well as updated LTRAP policies. LTRAP anticipates enrolling new participants again around October-November 2022 LTRAP has never limited its FSS Program, nor does it intend to in the future.

LTRAP has successfully launched the HomeRunTM Program which was developed in accordance with the Homeownership Final Rule, published on September 12, 2000. To date we have helped over 200 families close on their first home. Unfortunately, the housing prices have soared and it has become more difficult for low income families to afford a home even with the subsidy. Despite, the difficult market the Homeownership Program is still active, with approximately 1-2 closings per month.

Additionally, LTRAP offers a down-payment assistance program. A qualifying family wishing to purchase a home will be given the option of either 1) entering the HomeRunTM Program, where monthly payments are paid by this Agency, towards the mortgage or 2) receiving one lump sum payment to be used for a down-payment or for reasonable and customary closing costs. The second option is a one time payment equal to one year of homeownership assistance payments. A family may choose only one of the above options, and may not receive the other form of homeownership assistance at any other time. A family choosing the down-payment assistance method, may later apply for and receive tenant based assistance so long as no family member owns any title or interest in the property, and at least 18 months have elapsed since the down-payment grant was paid.

LTRAP participants have enjoyed the portability feature of the Section 8 program. We have successfully transferred participants throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and are also administering units for other jurisdictions. LTRAP is in full compliance with all portability regulations and specifically in accordance with streamlining process as described in the Federal Register on August 20, 2015. Currently, LTRAP is administering approximately 165 portable units.

In all local areas of LTRAP’s Section 8 Voucher Program where there are significant concentrations of low income and/or minority families, additional efforts will be taken to recruit and retain owners in non-impacted areas.

In each affected local area, LTRAP will clearly delineate areas of concentration and neighboring areas outside these areas of concentration.  These efforts by LTRAP  will include establishing maps that show various areas and information about facilities and services in neighboring areas such as schools, transportation and supportive and social services.

LTRAP will utilize the following measures as appropriate to increase owner participation in areas outside of minority or poverty concentration:

  1. Making direct contact with landlords;
  1. Providing written information promoting the benefits of owner participation in the

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program;

  1. Providing   historical   evidence   of   overall   community   benefits   derived   via deconcentration efforts;
  1. Holding formal and/or informal discussions and meetings with landlord groups;
  1. Meeting with rental referral companies or agencies; and
  1. Meeting with fair housing groups or agencies.

LTRAP prides itself in promoting integrity in the Section 8 program. Fraud and abuse in the program is dealt with immediately by prompt termination of benefits. An informal hearing is always offered to the participant prior to termination. Erroneous misrepresentation made by participants (not in a fraudulent manner) must be repaid to this agency. This is another method used to ensure that our program receipts are sufficient to cover program expenses.  Enforcement of any repayment agreement is imperative in ensuring program integrity and dealing with program constraints.

LTRAP’s Voucher Payment Standards are analyzed annually to ensure that our participants are not paying too much (rent burdened) as a result of too low of a payment standard, nor too little. If the payment standard is too high we may not be able to help as many families. At the same time, we ensure that the payment standard is at least 90% of the current Fair Market Rent even if the participants are not rent burdened. As of April 1, 2018, LTRAP is now required to use the Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) to determine payment standards.  Payment standards are reviewed for each zip code in the area and we ensure that the payment standard is at least 90% of the SAFMR for that zip code. This year the SAFMRs went down, although that is not reflective of what the area rents are. In fact, rents have soared in our area. We therefore, have actually increased our payment standards in Lakewood to 110% of the SAFMR.

As mentioned earlier, the rental market has become very tight in our area. It has become extremely difficult for our Voucher holders to find suitable and affordable units. As discussed above, LTRAP had to increase the Payment Standards for Lakewood to 110% of the SAFMR. A combination of these increased payment standards, plus the reopening of our Waiting List have helped us enable full leasing of the program.

In approving any lease, rent reasonableness is verified and documented before a lease is approved. In addition, no family will be allowed to rent a unit over the payment standard if they will be paying over 40% of their adjusted income for rent. This policy has been adopted per the regulations governing the merger rule as well as the amendment to this part printed in the Federal Register on November 3, 1999.

Before any unit is approved our agency conducts a thorough Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection. Inspections are then done on a biennial basis in accordance with the Federal Register changed made on June 25, 2014.

Family rent is calculated in accordance with HUD regulations. HUD has authorized use of a “minimum rent” of up to $50. Due to the drastic budget cuts, LTRAP implemented a $50 minimum rent effective January 1, 2005.

Utility allowances are reviewed annually and updated accordingly. The utility allowance used will be based on the lower of the family size or the unit size. This change was implemented beginning October 1, 2014, based on the regulations printed in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014 and to ensure adequate 60 day notice to the participants. Any family which includes a person with disabilities may request the higher utility allowance as a reasonable accommodation to the person with disabilities.

LTRAP instituted a criminal check policy. Before admitting anyone to the program a criminal history check is performed through the State Police. Policies for denial of assistance are explained in the Administrative Plan. Anyone denied assistance based on a criminal history report is given a copy of the report and is entitled to a hearing. Final determinations regarding admission to the program, are made by the hearing officer.

Last year, in May 2022, LTRAP was awarded 23 Emergency Housing Vouchers. These EHVs were part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and are specifically for the “homeless” population defined by HUD in PIH Notice 2021-15. The participants for this program must be submitted to us from the Coordinated Entry System for homeless people. We have partnered with homeless organizations, to provide us with eligible households for this program. To date we have reached out to over 100 homeless households, Approximately, 50 EHV vouchers were issued and 14 have successfully leased. We hope to have the program fully leased by the end of the calendar year.

LTRAP Administrative Plan 2016:admin-plan-2016-combined