Cumberland Maryland’s Oldest and Largest Affordable Housing Rental and For Sale Housing Provider

 

History of Public Housing

On June 16, 1933, as a part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Public Works Administration (PWA) was created to develop a program for the “construction, reconstruction, alteration, or repair under public regulation or control of low-cost housing projects.  In the spring of 1934, the PWA Administrator directed the Housing Division to undertake the direct construction of public housing, a decisive step that would serve as a precedent for the 1937 Housing Act, and the permanent public housing program in the United States that we have today.

In 1937, the Housing Act of 1937 replaced the temporary PWA Housing Division with a permanent, quasi-autonomous agency to administer housing known as the United States Housing Authority.  The Housing Act of 1949 dramatically expanded the role of the federal government in both public and private housing and initiated construction of a significant public housing program with the goal of  a “decent home in a decent environment for every American,” Several additional housing acts were passed after 1949, altering the program in small ways but no major legislation changed the mechanisms of public housing until the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. This act created the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a cabinet-level agency to lead with housing. In 1973, funding for housing projects was halted.

Public Housing (PH) is rental housing that is owned and managed by a Public Housing Authority, which in our area is the Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland.  Public housing comes in many sizes and types, from single family houses to large apartment buildings.  If you qualify for public housing, you have the option of spending about 30% of your income on your housing.  If your income goes up after you’ve moved into public housing, you can stay in your public housing unit, but will have to pay more rent up to the flat monthly rent for your size unit that is not tied to your income (even at full cost, public housing units are usually cheaper than most market rate rentals).

 

Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland

A Public Housing Authority (PHA) is an agency defined by the Federal Government and HUD that is responsible for the administrative, financial, management, and maintenance of the public housing and making sure that the housing is maintained as safe, decent, and affordable.   The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees and assist the PHA.

The Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland, Maryland was established in 1949 as a HUD Public Housing Authority operating under the federal guidelines of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is chartered under the Annotated Code of Maryland Article 44A. The Housing Authority operates as an agency within the Cumberland Housing Group and completely independent from that of the local city/county government.

The Mission of Cumberland Housing is:

♦   To provide safe, decent, sanitary, affordable  and well maintained housing at a fair market rent;

♦   To create opportunities for residents’ self-sufficiency and economic independence;

♦   To assure fiscal integrity by all low, very low and extremely low-income program participants; and

♦   To develop affordable housing, both rental and for sale, in the City of Cumberland and surrounding communities.

The Housing Authority is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of five Commissioners. These Commissioners are appointed upon recommendation by the Housing Authority Board by the Cumberland City Council. Commissioners shall be residents of Cumberland, or be employed within the City of Cumberland and are residents of the Corporation’s service area. Diversity of Directors. No more than four (4) Directors will consist of representatives of various areas of the public sector. This may include, but shall not be limited to, representatives of labor, finance, business, insurance, real estate, and community service organizations whom have positions and duties consistent with the operations of the corporation. One Commissioner is a resident of an affordable housing development owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland. Commissioners are appointed for five year staggered terms that are renewable.

The Housing Authority is a full-service agency with all property management, financial and maintenance operations conducted within the main office located at 635 East First Street in Cumberland.  The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cumberland Housing Group is responsible for the operations of the Housing Authority and is assisted by the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

HUD Public Housing Assessment System

The Housing Authority is evaluated annually by the HUD Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) utilizing the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) which is performed through a third party physical inspection and HUD online evaluations which measures four areas:

1.  Financial Management and Condition – 25% of the composite score;

2.  Physical Condition of properties and units – 40% of the composite score;

3.  Assessment of Management operations – 25% of the composite score; and

4.  Assessment of the use of the Capital Fund Program – 10% of the composite score.

Each year since 1999, when HUD implemented the Public Housing Assessment System, we have been consistently rated as a High Performing Agency with a score of 90% or greater. Our most recent score for fiscal year 2018 was 91%.

 

PHA Annual/Five Year Plan

The PHA Plan is a comprehensive guide to the public housing agency (PHA) policies, programs, operations, and strategies for meeting local housing needs and goals. There are two parts to the PHA Plan: the 5-Year Plan, which each PHA submits to HUD once every 5th PHA fiscal year, and the Annual Plan, which is submitted to HUD every year by non-qualified agencies.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), Title VII, Small Public Housing Authorities Paperwork Reduction Act exempted qualified PHAs from the requirement to prepare and submit an annual plan.  A Qualified PHA is a PHA that:

1.  has a combined unit total of 550 or less public housing units and section 8 vouchers; and

2.  is not designated troubled under section 6(j)(2) of the 1937 Act, the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS), as a troubled public housing agency during the prior 12 months.

The Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland is a Qualified PHA.

Although HERA exempts qualified PHAs from the requirement to prepare and submit and annual plan, qualified PHAs must carry out the following annual requirements:

Each qualified PHA must annually hold a public hearing regarding any changes to the goals, objectives, and policies of that agency and invite public comment regarding such changes. The qualified PHA must also consult with and consider the recommendations of the resident advisory boards for the agency at the public hearing. HUD considers the annual public hearing essential to PHAs in determining whether changes to goals, objectives, and policies are needed.

At least 45 days before the date of the public hearing, the PHA shall:

1.  Make all information relevant to the hearing and any determination of the agency regarding changes to the goals, objectives, and policies of the agency to be considered at the hearing, available for inspection by the public at the principal office of the PHA during normal business hours.

2.  Publish a notice informing the public that-

      • The information to be reviewed during the public hearing is available, and where and when they may inspect the information.
      • Date, time, and location of the public hearing.

As prescribed in HERA, each qualified PHA shall establish 1 or more resident advisory boards, the membership of which shall reflect and represent the residents assisted by the PHA. Each qualified PHA shall consult with and consider the recommendations of the resident advisory boards at the annual public hearing.

The PHA must assure that its Five-Year Plan is consistent with information and data available in the Consolidated Plan for the jurisdiction in which the PHA is located. With each 5-Year Plan, the PHA must include a certification of consistency with the Consolidated Plan, form HUD-50077SL.  The certification of consistency must be signed by the state or local official certifying that the PHA Plan is consistent with the jurisdictions Consolidated Plan.

 

Plan Documents

It is the responsibility of each PHA to make the approved plan and supporting documentation available to the general public.  The following is our PHA Plan documents which describe the purpose, goals, and commitment to the highest standard of operations.

2015 – 2020 5 Year Plan

Proposed 2020-2025 Plan

2017 Significant Plan Amendment for RAD

2017 HUD Plan Amendment Approval Letter

2019 Civil Rights Certification

2019 Significant Amendment

2019 Consistency with Local Consolidated Plan