2/21/17 - Testimony to Dallas Housing Authority Board of Directors

CPSH has been working with the Dallas Housing Authority to provide Project-Based Vouchers to home owners interested in leasing their homes to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The DHA received six applications. The award is over three months delayed.  The applicants are excited to here about the award.

On 2/21/17 several individuals attended the DHA Board Meeting to express our concerns over the delay   Staff at the DHA said there is a HUD Notice from 2008 that has caused them to question the whether or not some of the applicants can be awarded the PBVs.  The issue is about the eligibility of home owners to rent their homes to blood relations who have intellectual/developmental disabilities under the PBV program. The DHA and HUD are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.  Below are the testimonies presented.

When the issue is resolved CPSH will notify our email list.


Testimony by Robin LeoGrande

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to the DHA Board, today.

I am Robin LeoGrande, Co-Founder and President of COMMUNITY FOR PERMANENT SUPPORTED HOUSING, a non-profit charity in North Texas.  Our mission is to work with families, government, service providers and other community partners to create more safe, affordable housing for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the same 7 counties where DHA works.

Today I am asking that the announcement of awards for the 2016 RFP for Project-Based-Vouchers to house persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities be announced on March 1, 2017, as committed.

Our relationship with DHA began in 2011 when we met with Ms. Russ to discuss the need for housing for this underserved population.

Between 2011 and 2015 DHA issued two RFPs for Project-Based Vouchers to apartment owners and families with adult children with IDD. As a result 54 people are living in safe, affordable housing with service provider support.

We are in a time when these adults are outliving their parents, making transition to independently living before the death of parents is a social imperative. We are already seeing the tragedies of parents abandoning their adult children or murder/suicide when parents are no longer able to care for their children. In the DFW area 97,000 people with a cognitive disability have at least one challenge to living independently. There is housing across the state for three percent of this population.

DHA and CPSH were and continue to be leaders in Texas to house these adults before homelessness becomes the standard. 

In late 2015, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) announced a Housing and Services Partnership Academy.  The academy is composed of 9 teams across Texas that are identifying solutions for Service-Enriched Housing for Persons with Disabilities and Aging Texans. The Dallas County Housing Alliance is one of those teams.  Brooke Etie and I are on the team.  The team leader is Jame McClinton.  In 2017 the Housing and Services Partnership Academy continues.  The collaboration between DHA and CPSH influences the efforts in Dallas Co. and at the State level.

In January 2016 CPSH and DHA brought together the North Texas community to prepare for another RFP for housing for adults with IDD.

In July 2016 DHA issued the RFP SECTION 8 PROJECT-BASED VOUCHER (PBV) ASSISTANCE FOR NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING PILOT PROGRAM OF PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FOR PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL OR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.

Since DHA is under new leadership and the organization has changed technology platforms, the announcement of program award has been delayed over three months and is now March 1, 2017.

It is imperative that families have options for affordable housing for their children. DHA and CPSH must continue and improve our collaboration to decrease the risk of homelessness.

Please award the PBVs on or before March 1, 2017.


Testimony by Jacky Sylvie

*Continuing the Dallas Housing Authority Project Based Voucher program enables a growing population of people with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (IDD) housing options. 

*The biggest option is CHOICE.         

*Choice in where and with whom they want to live. 

*Choice to find a home near their jobs, family, friends, and communities. 

*A long term home that is inclusive in their neighborhoods and that is affordable and offering a better quality of life.  

*The applications waiting to be awarded will allow adults with IDD to move forward on their road to independence and self reliance. 

*By decreasing rental costs we can move more people with IDD into inclusive neighborhoods near jobs, communities and public transportation.

*It will also allow parents to move forward with their plans to have their children in a position to be taken care of in a secure, affordable home in safe neighborhoods.


 

Testimony by Irene Niemotka

I AM AN OLDER MOM OF AN ADULT CHILD THAT HAS AN INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY WHO IS NOW ALMOST 35 YEARS OLD AND STILL LIVING AT HOME.  MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE FAMILY 1000 MILES AWAY THAT ARE NOT PLANNING ON TAKING CARE OF OR ASSISTING IN ANY SUPPORT OF OUR DAUGHTER WHEN WE NO LONGER ARE ABLE.

WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE COLLABARATIVE WORK THAT THE DALLAS HOUSING AUTHORITY HAS PUT INTO FINDING A PATH FOR OUR ADULT CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO FIND HOUSING THAT IS BOTH SAFE AND LIFE FRIENDLY SUCH AS BEING ABLE TO MOVE IN WITH OTHER FRIENDS WITH DISABILITIES AND GIVING LANDLORDS OPTIONS THROUGH VOUCHERS THAT STAY WITH THE APARTMENTS AND HOMES RATHER THAN THE TENANTS.   THE YEARS THAT WE HAVE WORKED ON RFP’S WITH DHA HAVE BEEN OUR LIFEBOAT IN AN OVERWHELMING SEA.

GETTING OUR POPULATION SETTLED IS NOT EASY,  IT IS NOT A QUICK PROCESS AND HOPEFULLY IN THE YEARS TO COME WE WILL ALL APPRECIATE THAT THE PROBLEMS THAT HINDER OUR KIDS FROM MOVING ARE LIKE NO OTHER IN THE COMMUNITY. FOR INSTANCE,  IN MANY STATES IT IS MANDATORY TO TAKE A PERCENTAGE OF HOUSING VOUCHERS IN MOST NEIGHBORHOOD APARTMENTS.   SOME YEARS AGO, I CALLED HUNDREDS OF APARTMENT BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS AND WAS TOLD THEY WERE NOT INTERESTED IN TAKING VOUCHERS. THEY DIDN’T NEED THEM.  WE ALSO NEED A LONGER TIME FRAME AFTER WINNING A VOUCHER, TO FIND AN AFFORDABLE HOME, AND TO FILL IT.  THERE HAS TO BE MORE FLEXIBILITY IN ORDER FOR THIS TRANSITION TO BE SUCCESSFUL.  THE CHILD NEEDS TIME TO GRASP THE SITUATION, THE PROVIDERS NEED TIME TO PUT TOGETHER A PLAN THAT WILL WORK WITH THE LANDLORDS AND THREE HOUSEHOLDS NEED TO BE PREPARED TO MOVE TOGETHER REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE POINT IN TIME THAT THE RFP IS DECIDED.

I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE FOR ALL THAT THEY HAVE DONE TO HELP OUR CAUSE.  I ALSO WANT TO CONTINUE TO MAKE CHANGES IN ORDER TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS TO FIND A FOREVER HOME FOR THOSE THAT NEED IT THE MOST, THE ONES WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO MOVE WITHOUT SUPPORT, AND NEED SUPPORT IN DIFFERENT STAGES THROUGH OUT THEIR LIVES.   I WOULD LOVE FOR TEXAS TO TAKE A LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES AND BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF A NEW WAY TO HELP THE IDD POPULATION STEP INTO THE NEXT PHASE OF MEETING HOUSING NEEDS FOR EVERYONE.

 THANK YOU.