Annette Moore, the county's interim housing director, says the agency has appealed a September determination by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that its Section 8 program is "troubled."
Housing Authorities that operate Section 8 program are assessed and scored annually on fourteen factors. Scores below 60 are considered troubled, scores from 60 to 89 percent are standard and scores above 90 are considered high performing. According to Moore, the Orange County Housing Authority received a 59 on its most recent assessment on September 30.
Moore said she expects another assessment will be conducted in August or September, but that HUD will determine the date.
Agencies that are considered troubled must undergo monitoring by HUD and work with the federal agency on a corrective plan. A troubled designation remains in effect until improvements are made to warrant a change.
Moore said it's the first time Orange County Housing Authority has been designated as troubled. The agency lost points on its assessment for reviewing rent reasonableness, inspections, quality control and properly documenting changes in a tenant's incomes, Moore said.
Rent reasonableness refers to whether the total cost of a Section 8 unit, not just the rent tenants pay, is in line with fair market value. Moore said the agency has contracted with a company to conduct rent reasonableness surveys.
Moore said the department currently has two inspectors and a third is being hired in January. Apartments are inspected whenever a new tenant moves in, followed by another review from a quality control inspector.
"We’re on track," Moore said. "We’ve been in communication about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and just reviewing stuff to make sure what we do is in our paperwork."