Ms. Durham introduced herself and Saundra Boujai, Program Coordinator for the Scattered Sites Counseling Program.
stated that the Scattered Sites Counseling program
is staffed by five resident counselors, one emergency assistance counselor, and one part-time administrative aide who are all housed at the East Deer Park office.Ms. Boujai
stated that the complement of 1,623 units served is comprised of several different programs which are currently dispersed as follows: Holiday Park (20), MPDUs (146), Pomander Park (24), State Rental Partnership
(150), McKendree (28), Tax Credit (507), McHome (4), Public Housing (707).She
added that the units are scattered throughout the County.Ms. Boujai
stated that the Scattered Sites Program
is involved with approximately 250 Homeowner Associations
within the County.Ms. Boujai
explained that caseloads are assigned geographically.She
stated that each resident counselor is assigned a caseload of approximately 350 units.She
added that, on average, each counselor has an active caseload of approximately 100 resident families per month.Ms. Boujai
went on to give details of the work that is done and pointed out three main areas of service provided by the resident counselors.Those service areas are identified as: crisis intervention, rent and utility delinquency counseling and complaint intervention and resolution.She
went on to provide information on home visits, case conferences and formal office conferences which are held to attempt resolution of client issues.
Two other programs are coordinated in the Scattered Sites Program
, Ms. Boujai
first discussed the Resident Temporary Assistance Program (ReTAP) and explained that the program is open only to Opportunity Housing residents.Ms. Boujai
stated that ReTAP
provides a grant in the form of rent reduction (for up to a 12-month period) to eligible participants facing a financial hardship or life crisis.She
stated that since its inception in 1997, the program has awarded grants to 90 residents and the average grant is $1,099.Ms. Boujai
then discussed the Emergency Assistance Program which is administered in both the Scattered Sites Counseling unit and the Housing Choice Voucher Counseling unit.She
stated that the Program is a partnership between HOC and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Emergency Services Unit.She
explained that the program provides financial assistance to prevent evictions due to delinquent rental payments, utility disconnections, security deposits, aid with moving expenses, and first month's payment for storage space if eviction is eminent.Three assistance counselors are located in the HOC Kensington, HOC East Deer Park, and Silver Spring DHHS offices.She
stated that 840 households were served in FY01 with the total expenditures on behalf of residents for FY01 being $375,855 or approximately $450 per household.Ms. Boujai then introduced Marsha Smith, Program Coordinator for the Housing Choice Voucher Counseling Program.
Chairman Pro Tem Cohen asked Ms. Boujai
about the effectiveness of the Program, in light of the large caseloads and the small staff.Ms. Boujai
responded that she
staff find themselves being more reactive than proactive.She
stated that because the units are scattered throughout the county and the counselors are not on the property, she
staff are made aware of issues concerning residents by the resident, the Home Owners Associations
, or other means.She
added that, if they are not made aware of an issue, problems may go unresolved.
Chairman Lasko commended staff on the presentation.Vice-Chairman Nelson stated that the Agency has so few demonstrable problems within the residents served due to the work that the staff does.He
added that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
B. COMMISSIONER EXCHANGEVice-Chairman Nelson stated that he attended the Family Self-Sufficiency Day on Saturday, May 11th.He
stated that the event was held at Wheaton Regional Park.He
added that this 6th Annual event was supported by the Southern Maryland Life Underwriters Association
stated that there were 200 families in attendance and the event was enjoyed by all.Vice-Chairman Nelson added that there is a potential opportunity to get additional help for programs from someone who attended the event.Chairman Lasko stated that he attended the Senior Volunteer Recognition event last week.He
congratulated Ms. Durham, Ms. Matthews and Ms. Gail Gunod-Green for all the work they do.He
stated that 81 awards were given to the senior residents who volunteer.