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The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s HALO (Housing Affordable Living Options) and Modified Apprenticeship Training Programs were honored with regional Awards for Merit at the annual MAHRA (Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies) and MARC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Council) NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) conference held May 29 through 31, 2019.

“We say DCHA builds affordable housing, family, and community. These are two programs that fully support that message,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. . “Our HALO program assists voucher customers with moving into neighborhoods that provide opportunities and amenities for their family’s success. The Apprenticeship Training Program provides quality job skills to DCHA customers to secure solid training and to find stable work. I am proud of the agency’s efforts and thank our housing colleagues for this great honor.”

HALO was created in 2015 as a program for DCHA voucher customers to move to areas of the District with lower poverty rates, racial diversity, educational options, flourishing business presence, employment growth, and other similar indicators.

The process is simple: first, DCHA staff reaches out to qualified voucher customers to inform them of the options in these neighborhoods, including schools and other amenities. These families are then counseled in areas such as financial planning, credit repair, being a good neighbor, and their rights as tenants in D.C. in a three-month program. They also participate in self-sufficiency programs before receiving a certificate of completion, demonstrating to landlords a commitment to being a good tenant.

DCHA includes a landlord incentive and outreach component to HALO that compliments the training that voucher holders complete. Through targeted landlord outreach in low poverty areas where landlords are not familiar with the voucher program, the HALO team educates landlords of the benefits of participation. These benefits include a dedicated mobility counselor for the first year after move-in, pre-inspections, quarterly visits by the HALO team with landlord and program participants, priority initial inspections, automatic biennial inspections, and automatic rent increases.

The Modified Apprenticeship Training Program was created in March 2018 to provide DCHA customers with the opportunity to learn job skills while also working to enhance the appearance and curb appeal of DCHA properties, all while earning a paycheck. At the end of the program, all of the apprentices apply for permanent positions. Last year’s class found employment at DCHA, D.C. Department of Public Works, and Galaxy Paint, to name of few options.

The NAHRO Agency Awards Program was created to give national recognition to the achievement and innovation of NAHRO agency/organizational members throughout the country; to provide additional opportunities to inform the public of the best in housing and community development; and to create a resource bank of information on significant, innovative activities performed by housing and redevelopment agencies and community development departments.  Since 1989, NAHRO has honored more than 6,000 programs. The awards application process opens in October and closes in January.

The Agency Awards Program is a two-tiered program consisting of the Awards of Merit and the Awards of Excellence. The first tier of the program, the Awards of Merit, are submitted to National NAHRO and sent to Regional Juries for review. The second tier of the program, the Awards of Excellence, is selected from the Award of Merit winners nominated for an Award of Excellence by the Regional Juries. They are sent to National Juries who may select up to 24 Awards of Excellence in a given year.

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Last modified: 6/26/2019 12:47:20 PM