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PHA Plans

Public Housing Authority (PHA) Plans

Since adoption of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA), public housing agencies (PHAs) have had a statutory obligation to develop Five-Year and Annual Plans. These plans set forth locally adopted policies regarding public housing and the voucher program. Currently, HUD does not require much detail to be included in the Five-Year and Annual Plans. However, more detailed information regarding the implementation of PHA plans is available in other PHA documents, such as the Administrative Plan for the voucher program, the Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) for public housing. The PHA’s Annual Plan is also the PHA’s application for public housing capital funds. PHAs also engage in other planning processes.

PHAs must consult with a Resident Advisory Board (RAB) and hold at least one public hearing regarding their Annual Plan.

PHAs that are designated as Moving to Work (MTW) PHAs may follow a different planning process.

Advocates and residents have submitted comments to PHAs on their Five Year and Annual Plans and included comments on the Section 8 Administrative Plan and Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) because these plans are also generally reviewed and updated as part of the PHA plan process. Often a PHA may purchase a model Administrative Plan or ACOP; therefore many of these plans are very similar. The Administrative Plan and ACOP generally contain both those policies that a PHA is required to follow and those policies which the PHA has discretion to adopt.

Advocates from Legal Services programs that receive funds from the Legal Services Corporation are allowed to engage in advocacy regarding the PHA plans. See Housman articles below.

Articles

The Annual Public Housing Authority Plan: A New Opportunity to Influence Local Public Housing and Section 8 Policy

This article by David B. Bryson and Daniel P. Lindsey appeared in the May-June 1999 issue of the Clearinghouse Review. The 1998 Housing Act's requirement that public housing authorities set forth policy in an annual plan is Congress' way of keeping public housing authorities accountable. The annual plan is a public document, and as such a public housing authority cannot hide or downplay strategic policy decisions affecting low-income families in its jurisdiction. Procedures for developing the annual plan should allow for increasing tenant and applicant participation.

Public Housing Plan Requirements Continue to Erode

This February 2009 NHLP Housing Law Bulletin article discusses the revised PHA Plan Template, the form used by PHAs to create their Five Year and Annual Plans.

HUD Is Poised to Drastically Alter the PHA Plan Process

This March 2008 NHLP Housing Law Bulletin article discusses some of the weaknesses in the new PHA plan Template.

Alan W. Houseman, Short Primer on Policy Advocacy (Sept. 2007)

Legal Services Corporation restrictions do not prohibit advocacy with administrative officials in efforts to change the practices of institutions and agencies so that they are more responsive to the needs of the poor. These two articles address these issues, the Short Primer specifically mentions the PHA plan process.

Cases

Baldwin v. Housing Authority of the City of Camden, 278 F.Supp.2d 365 (D.N.J. 2003)

A voucher applicant filed suit challenging her denial of admission based upon credit history. The applicant alleged that creditworthiness was not a criterion that the housing authority could consider and that the housing authority violated due process, abused its discretion and violated the United States Housing Act (USHA). On this latter claim the applicant alleged that the housing authority may only change its screening policy consistent with the annual planning process which provides for public review and comment.

Materials

HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights

Chapter 12 of the NHLP, HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights (3rd Edition, 2006-2007 Supplement) contains an extensive discussion of the PHA plan process. The topics covered in Chapter 12 of the manual include, the PHA plan Process and resident and public involvement, the Resident Advisory Board (RAB), timeline for the PHA plan process, issues included in the PHA Plan, HUD review of the PHA plans, and issues regarding enforcement of the PHA plan.

Training Materials from NHLP on the PHA Plan Process

NHLP Training Power Point regarding the PHA Plan Process from the Housing Justice Network Conference, December 6, 2008. Advocates have submitted comments to PHAs on their Five-Year and Annual Plans and on their Administrative Plans and ACOP.

Sample of Issues that have been addressed in comments submitted by advocates on PHA plans

Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure Act and HUD PIH Notice 2009-52
These comments were submitted to the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles regarding the implementation of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act.

Domestic Violence
The PHA Five Year and Annual Plans must include information regarding a PHA’s goals and policies regarding victims of domestic violence

NHLP Fact Sheet on the PHA plan process and NHLP Fact Sheet on Resident Advisory Board (RAB)

These fact sheets explain the basics of the plan process and the RAB and are suitable for distribution to residents.

Regulations

24 C.F.R. Part 903

The regulations setting forth the PHA’s and HUD’s obligations and the rights of the RAB and public to a hearing and access to information regarding the PHA Plan.

PHA Plan Template and Notice PIH 2008- 41(HA) (Nov. 13, 2008)

PHAs’ Five Year and Annual Plans are developed using the HUD form 50075, which is also known as the PHA Plan Template available here. Notice PIH 2008- 41(HA) Public Housing Agency (PHA) Five-Year and Annual Plan Process for all PHA (Nov. 13, 2008) available here.

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