The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, marking an important milestone for the agency. HUD has been helping families and individuals find quality and affordable housing and working to end homelessness since its inception. Statistics show that more than half of renters were spending thirty percent of their income on rent in 2012, a situation that is difficult for any family to maintain. HUD’s mission is to help low income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities have the opportunity to live in a dwelling they can afford. By assisting individuals, HUD initiatives also help to improve and revitalize the communities in which they live.
Currently, there are 1.2 million families living in public housing in the United States but thanks to HUD, over the last few years the percentage of homeless families and individuals in the U.S. has dropped by twenty-one percent, including a thirty-three percent drop for homeless Veterans.[i] “HUD's business is helping to create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans.” [ii]
Eligibility Requirements for Housing Assistance
Those looking to be part of the Section 8 housing program must meet certain criteria in order to receive assistance. Eligibility is based on:
- Annual gross income (this requirement differs from one Housing Agency to another, meaning that applicants may be eligible in one area but not another)
- Whether the applicant qualifies as a family, an elderly person or an individual with a disability
- Whether you are a U.S. Citizen or have eligible immigration status
When applying, applicants must include the names of every person living in the dwelling as well as their birth certificates, employment records, anticipated income for the next year and references, all of which will be checked to make sure that the applicants will be good tenants.
How Rent is Determined
Under the Section 8 program, the rent that a tenant pays is referred as Total Tenant Payment (TTP). This figure is determined based on the family’s or individual’s annual gross income, less deductions. Determining TTP follows a formula that establishes the highest of the following:
- 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income
- 10 percent of the monthly income
- Welfare rent (if applicable)
- A $25 minimum rent payment (or up to $50)
(Source: HUD’s Public Housing Program. Hud.gov. n.d. web. 19 Sep. 2016)
Like any rental property, management firms of Section 8 housing typically want to increase tenants’ rent on a yearly basis. In some cases, the property manager may justify a rent increase because they want to renovate the property in question, or they may simply want to match average rental fees in the area.
In order for HUD to approve a rent increase, the property manager must conduct market research to show that market conditions have changed in the area, justifying an increase.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development solicits companies to provide market research and analysis services in order to determine the fair market rents in a given area.
The process involves hiring a consultant to go out and research the area, town or city that the property is in and gather information on the market conditions in that area, including economic, demographic and housing variables such as the strength of the local economy, recent property sales and rental market price fluctuations over the previous 12 months.
Because market conditions can change rapidly, however, even after a report is submitted to HUD the agency maintains the authority to decide if a tenant’s rent will increase or decrease.
Market research is not the only service HUD requires from third-party vendors. Other contract opportunities include:
- Professional services for business process re-engineering and technical assistance
- Logistical support services, including building maintenance and supplies
- Logistical and technical support including IT services, software and hardware
- Support for field program operations which include property management, marketing, sales, inspections, appraisals, foreclosures, security services, architectural/engineering and mortgage insurance support services
*Note: If you are interested in doing business with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, solicitations can be found on HUD’s Internet Contracting Opportunities page. Vendors should keep in mind that HUD does not maintain a vendor/bidder’s list.
Market Research is an important aspect of any business: it allows organizations to find out what is going on in their industry and what their competitors are doing. Market research also helps businesses develop solutions and find ways to adapt to changing market conditions.
Remember that market research is not the only contract opportunity offered by HUD. If you’re interested in doing business with the agency, take a look at the HUD’s open procurement opportunities to see what’s available in your area of expertise - you never know when you’ll come across a contract that’s a perfect fit for your business!Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com
[i] N.p. About Hud. Hud.gov. n.d. web 19 Sep. 2016
[ii] N.p. General Information about HUD Contracting. N.d. web 19 Sep. 2016