RFP for VASH Project-Based Voucher Program AND Property-Based Subsidies
The Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma (THA) seeks competitive proposals for two types of THA rental assistance. The Tacoma housing market continues to see low vacancy rates and rising rents. Affordable housing options for low-income families continues to shrink. THA can use its federal funding to find creative ways to make units available to low-income households and to serve more households in the community.
Under this request for proposals THA will accept proposals for two types of rental assistance: VASH Project-Based Voucher Assistance and Local Property-Based Subsidies.
VASH Project-Based Voucher
The VASH Project-Based Voucher is an existing federal housing subsidy program. These PBVs will enable homeless veterans and their families to access affordable housing with an array of supportive services. Under this program, THA and a property owner will negotiate to place a long-term contract on a property to pay housing subsidies for units occupied by qualified tenants. THA regularly inspects units to ensure they are safe for occupancy. Tenant rents are based on tenant incomes and THA pays a subsidy to cover the remaining balance of the rent each month. The subsidy is “attached” to the unit and applies to each qualified tenant that moves into that unit.
- Depending on population acuity, the facility/landlord should provide onsite services and security.
- Property management should expect to work collaboratively with VA case managers to determine eligibility and ensure for ongoing housing stability. VA Case management support sets HUD-VASH apart from other subsidy programs.
- See https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/3774/section-8-housing-choice-vouchers-hud-vash/ for more details about the HUD-VASH program.
- A building may not contain more than 25 project-based VASH vouchers
- Number of units can be scattered over multiple sites.
Local Property-Based Subsidy
The second offering is the Local Property-Based Subsidy. This program is different from THA’s Tenant- Based and Project-Based voucher programs. It is similar to the Project-Based voucher program in that the subsidy is tied to a property, as opposed to the tenant. Like the Project-Based voucher, THA also regularly inspects units to ensure they are safe for occupancy. The Local Property-Based Subsidy is different from the Project-Based voucher program in three primary ways:
- Like other programs, tenants must income qualify and have incomes below set standards, but the tenant rents are fixed regardless of the tenant’s actual income. This provides predictable rent amounts for tenants rather than rent going up or down based on their income. Fixed rents make the program easier to explain, understand and manage for both tenants and landlords. The fixed subsidy also removes a disincentive for tenants to increase their earned income because the tenant’s share of the rent will not increase if they earn more. On the other hand, it also means that a tenant’s rent share will not decrease if their income goes down. In this way, it is similar to THA’s HOP program except it’s tied to a property rather than a tenant.
- The subsidies to the owner would be set on an annual basis, subject to the property meeting negotiated minimum occupancy rates, rather than varying month-to-month based on tenant rent calculations. This provides a stable, predictable and easy to administer income stream for the owners and predictable expenses for the housing authority.
- The owner is responsible for advertising vacancies, screening its tenants and verifying the income of tenants. The tenants will not have a relationship with the housing authority. Tenants will just realize affordable rents at the property level based on the subsidy that is being provided to the owner. The arrangement offers tenants the tenant protections of THA’s other programs.
This Request for Proposals will remain open continuously until further notice. THA will notify the public once it has awarded all of the available vouchers and/or if THA decides to close the bid process. On a decision to close the bid process, THA will provide a 30-day notice for respondents to submit their final bids.
Completed applications for both programs were first reviewed on November 12, 2021, and future reviews will occur every 30 days after that. For the first review, applications must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on November 12. Applications postmarked before the deadline but not received by the Tacoma Housing Authority will be held until the next review cycle.
An Informational Session was held on October 29, 2021 to share additional details about this RFP. You can watch the recorded Informational Session here, or see the written Q & A session below.
Q & A
Q: 2 people per bedroom. How many people per studio unit?
Q: Does this mean that only 50 properties will be awarded in each program?
A: 50 units to subsidize for each program. The more applications we get, the better.
Q: VASH – when the tenant does not pay their 30% of the rent, which makes the landlord whole & who pays for the eviction?
A: Ideally, if there is an issue with a change of income the VA case manager will work with the veteran to make sure they submit their paperwork to THA in order to decrease the tenant’s portion of the rent. If the tenant decides not to pay the rent, the landlord can call the VA case manager. There are resources available, but ultimately the tenant portion of the rent is the veteran’s responsibility. Additionally, PBV landlords should be eligible for the Washington State Landlord Mitigation Fund.
Q: In the RFP, we don’t want more than 25 PBV voucher holders in one property. What if the property is smaller? What does that look like?
A: We would certainly consider that. The VA will be a part of the final decision. They are open to having conversations to ensure the property is a good fit for project-basing VASH vouchers.