Phoenix To Outsource Low Income Housing Program

Published: Monday, October 9, 2017 - 7:36am
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix city council members approve a plan to outsource daily operations of the federally-funded Section 8 Voucher program.

Phoenix is looking to outsource daily operations of its most popular low-income housing program. The move will lead to an annual contract worth up to $1 million.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sends cities money to cover administrative costs for the Section 8 voucher program.

Phoenix Housing Director Cindy Stotler said after years of overfunding, HUD has spent the last seven years reducing the money it sends. She told council members it’s no longer enough to cover the cost of 34 full-time positions.

“Starting now we have no reserves and we are looking at a $700,000 to a million dollar loss every year going forward,” she said.

Frank Piccioli, president of AFSCME Local 2960, thinks outsourcing is a bad idea.

“When you start giving away such control from public servants to a private corporation, you change that basic goal,” he said. “The goal becomes profit and not service.”

Currently, 27 city employees and seven temporary agency staff handle the program. The Housing Department said it will work with affected staffers to fill vacant positions throughout the city.

Phoenix will maintain control over how the 6,800 vouchers are distributed among the chronically homeless, veterans, domestic violence victims and others. The contractor will handle things like background checks and income verification.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected to be issued this fall.