Public Comment – Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, HOME Division

TCDD Letterhead

November 1, 2013
Jennifer Molinari
Rule Comments
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, HOME Division
P.O. Box 13941
Austin, Texas 78711-3941
Dear Ms. Molinari:
Thank you for allowing the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) to provide comments on the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (the “Department”) proposed amendments to 10 TAC §23.1, §23.2, the single family HOME program.
TCDD is established in federal law by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and consists of a 27 member board, appointed by the Governor, 60% of whom are individuals with developmental disabilities or family members of individuals with disabilities. The Council’s purpose in law is to encourage policy change so that people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.
TDHCA’s enabling legislation, Government Code, Title 10, §2306.002 finds that: every resident of this state should have a decent, safe and affordable living environment. Texans with developmental disabilities, who are limited to a fixed income of SSI, currently $714 per month, or around 15% of area median income, are residents who should have the same opportunity for a decent, safe and affordable living environment as other low-income Texans.
The state of Texas has indicated a commitment to moving individuals from state institutions and affordable housing has been identified as the primary barrier to living in the community. Failure to provide housing affordable to people with developmental disabilities impedes the success of state health and human services programs to provide services and support to individuals in the communities of their choice rather than in institutional settings such as nursing homes, state mental hospitals, state supported living centers and private intermediate care facilities (ICFs) that consume a disproportionate share of limited public resources.
TCDD applauds TDHCA for revising the Tenant Based Rental Assistance rules to allow the program to be used by individuals with disabilities, including transitioning from institutional settings, as long as they are on waiting lists for housing assistance. With sequestration housing agencies are eliminating waiting lists for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. However, two other programs, Section 811 and Section 202, continue to have waiting lists.
TCDD submits the following comments on rule changes [posted October 4, 2012, 38 TexReg] to add Section 811 and Section 202 programs to TBRA, Subchapter F:
SUBCHAPTER F. TENANT-BASED RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
§23.61. Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program Requirements.

(e) Project funds are limited to:
(1) rental subsidy: The rental subsidy term is limited to no more than twenty-four (24) months under a contract award. Households served under a reservation agreement may be granted a twelve (12) month extension, for a period of assistance not to exceed thirty-six (36) month cumulatively. A household may be eligible for an additional twenty-four months of assistance, for a period of assistance not to exceed sixty (60) months cumulatively, if:
(A) the Household [household] has applied for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, (add) a HUD Section 811 or a HUD Section 202 program and is placed on a waiting list during their TBRA participation tenure; and
(B) the Household [household] has not been removed from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, (add) a HUD Section 811 or a HUD Section 202 program waiting list due to failure to respond to required notices or other ineligibility factors; and
(C) the Household [household] has not been denied participation in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, (add) a HUD Section 811 or a HUD Section 202 program while they were being assisted with HOME TBRA; and
(D) the Household [household] did not refuse to participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, (add) a HUD Section 811 or a HUD Section 202 program when a voucher was made available;
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on TBRA and further housing opportunity for Texans with disabilities.
Sincerely,
Belinda Carlton
Public Policy Specialist