Town of Norwood Local Initiative Program
In 2004 the Norwood Housing Authority began administrating the Local Initiative Program for the Town. The LIP program is a voluntary agreement between a developer and the town which provides for an “Affordable Housing’ component to new developments. The LIP program is used instead of the less than voluntary Chapter 40B process, which tends to pit a developer against the town.
The Norwood Housing Authority agreed to administer the program for the town, which means the operation of Affordable Housing “lotteries” and the necessary advertisement, verifications, and other regulatory requirements of the program for several developments. The LIP program is administered at the state level by the Department of Housing and Community Development, (DHCD), which also administers the low income housing programs.
Lotteries were held for developments at Washington Square (Michael Bartucca-developer), and Lenox Station (John Marini-developer).
Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Norwood Housing Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher program in Norwood. This program is designed to assist families and elderly persons by providing rental assistance to tenants of privately owned rental units. Program participants usually pay no more than 30% of their adjusted monthly income toward rent and utilities. The Housing Authority then pays a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to the landlord for the difference between the tenant’s payment and the HUD determined Fair Market Rent.
The Norwood Housing Authority participates in the Mass. NAHRO state wide Section 8 waiting list. An applicant for the Section 8 program may apply at any participating local housing authority in Massachusetts. Applicants are awarded the preferences that they are eligible for by the system. This list has grown to over 40,000 applicants, but if the NHA were to take a name from the list, those with the Norwood local preference would be at the top of the list we would get.
Once an applicant is awarded a voucher they can begin their housing search. When they find a suitable unit, they need to request approval from the NHA. The unit must pass a Housing Quality Inspection and the landlord must agree to a contract, with the rent that the NHA approves.
The NHA Leased Housing staff processes new participants as well as current participants, who must verify their income on an annual basis. The NHA currently administers approximately 330 HCV Vouchers that were issued by the NHA as well as approximately 15 vouchers that were issued by other LHA’s, but the participants found housing in Norwood. This is referred to in the industry as Portability. This allows a participant with a voucher to relocate anywhere in the United States.
This program was formerly a voucher based program under which the NHA was awarded 341 vouchers. Since 2004 the program has changed to a budget based program, which has caused the NHA to fund the lower number of vouchers.
We also administer small AHVP and MRVP programs. These programs are funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Both of these programs were modeled on the Section 8 program.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a voluntary program that lasts up to 5 years, but participants may be able to graduate sooner if program goals are fulfilled. The FSS Program is designed to assist families in becoming economically independent by increasing their earned income through employment, education, and building financial stability. Families with a Section 8 voucher through Norwood Housing Authority are eligible to apply. The FSS Program does not affect your rental assistance or subsidy. By enrolling in the FSS Program you have so much to gain and nothing to lose!
FSS Savings Account
A savings account or also known as an escrow account is an interest-bearing account established by the Norwood Housing Authority on behalf of an FSS family. Deposits are made to this account when the family’s rent increases as a result of increased earned income in the FSS family household. These funds can help the family make progress towards goals such as purchasing a car, saving for your child’s education, starting your own small business, buying a home, and more.
Work with a Family Self-Sufficiency Coach providing case management in the coordination of services and resources that will help you to overcome obstacles in achieving your goals.
Every family has different needs and goals. Some examples of goals may include but not limited to:
- Employment – obtain a higher paying job or position with the assistance of career services.
- Education – work towards obtaining a GED, a certification in a desired field of study, or furthering oneself in higher education.
- Credit- work on obtaining a credit footprint, repairing your credit, maintaining good credit, managing credit cards and how to obtain a secured credit card.
- Budget – learn how to create and maintain a budget while saving for your future.
For more information about the Family Self-Sufficiency Program please contact:
Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator
Norwood Housing Authority