Over the past year, rental vacancies have risen sharply, but there also is no shortage of misconceptions about various state and federal housing voucher and rental assistance programs. At this session, a panel of government officials and housing industry experts will help demystify HUD’s Section 8 program, the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, and the state’s Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program. Specifically, attendees will learn how these programs are funded and operate; participant eligibility criteria and rent payment procedures, and guidelines for the property inspection and approval processes for housing units. Demystifying Housing Voucher and Residential Assistance Programs After this program, you will be able to properly inform clients (i.e. landlords, property owners and managers) and set their expectations about each program, as well as help reduce opportunities for source of income discrimination in the local market.
Robert P. Cwieka, Director, Office of Public Housing, HUD-Boston
Mr. Cwieka has served with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Public Housing, in the Boston Office, for over 29 years. Mr. Cwieka is presently the Director of HUD’s Office of Public Housing, Boston HUB. Previously he served as the Deputy Director. The Boston Office of Public Housing’s portfolio includes more than 200 Public Housing Authorities in New England (excluding CT). Immediately prior to his appointment as the Deputy Director, Mr. Cwieka was a Public Housing Revitalization Specialist and his portfolio of PHAs included the MA Dept. of Housing and Community Development, the Boston Housing Authority and the Cambridge Housing Authority as well as many other PHAs. Prior to joining HUD, Mr. Cwieka was managing property in CT and Western MA, with a private management firm.
Chris Norris, Executive Director of Metro Housing|Boston
Mr. Norris has served as the executive director of Metro Housing|Boston since 2007. With a staff of 155 and a $12 million operating budget, Metro Housing|Boston connects residents of Greater Boston with safe, decent homes they can afford and administers more than 9,500 rental assistance vouchers.
Prior to working at Metro Housing|Boston, Mr. Norris spent 10 years as the assistant director of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), in which he directed their state legislative policy work. Before that, he served as the coordinator of the National Consumer Law Center’s Foreclosure Prevention Program. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Pacific and his JD from the Massachusetts School of Law. He serves on the board of directors of CHAPA, the Massachusetts Community Banking Council and the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts.
Cecilia Woodworth, Assistant Director, State Programs, Department of Housing and Community Development
Cecilia works in the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Division of Rental Assistance overseeing state programs. In this role, she oversees four rental assistance programs with combined annual budgets of $172M that house over 10,000 low and extremely-low income households. Cecilia wrote the book on the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)—literally—by authoring the program’s first comprehensive Administrative Plan in 2017. Before working at DHCD, she was the MRVP Coordinator at Metro Housing|Boston and oversaw the issuance and leasing of vouchers for hundreds of households. She is an advocate for ensuring fair and equal access to affordable and subsidized housing. She holds a Master of Social Work from Boston University
GBAR Members: Registration for this FREE event is available upon login to your account.