A quality home is the foundation
of society & community

A quality home is the foundation of society & community


The Rockford Apartment Association’s Monthly meeting held on Tuesday, February 15, 2022. Owen Carter, RHA, Director of Housing Operations announced the RHA’s designation as a Move to Work agency, along with the Winnebago County Housing Authority. It was an ideal opportunity to announce to our strategic community partner, The Rockford Apartment Association, about our agencies which were selected to participate in the MTW COHORT #4 DEMONSTRATION from HUD. 

The Rockford Apartment Association’s mission is to foster and encourage practices that promote investment in and development of the well-maintained rental property to serve all segments of the population. RAA is a nonprofit, educational organization representing nearly 9,000 units in the northern Illinois area. It is their continued vision that residential rental property will be a valued asset for the community, which supports the quality of life of our residents and their neighbors.

Rockford Housing Authority is pleased to present the highlights of the presentation and the content that Owen shared during the event. 

HIGHLIGHT - MOVING TO WORK (MTW) Owen Carter, RHA, Director of Housing Operations

“As you may be aware the MTW designation is a demonstration for public housing authorities (PHAs) that provides them the opportunity to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies that use federal dollars more efficiently, help residents find employment and become self-sufficient, and increase housing choices for low-income families. MTW allows PHAs exemptions from many existing public housing and voucher rules and provides funding flexibility.

This important program designation will serve the residents and the community in a new way. With this new MTW business model, we are able to provide incentives for our landlords to encourage them to continue, increase and enter into participation in the HCV program. Doing so will provide local residents with greater access to areas of higher opportunities.  Like WCHA, the RHA applied and was awarded MTW status under Cohort #4 – Landlord Incentives

Our focus (activities) include:

Payment Standards (FMRs) increased to 120% – This means increase payment standards paid directly to participating landlords and Damage Claims – equivalent to one month’s rent for any damages incurred during a residency at move out.

In addition to the two HUD-identified activities and to facilitate technological solutions, better customer service, and better communications, Rockford Housing Authority is working at implementing additional strategies.”

Owen Carter, RHA, Director of Housing Operations

Specific initiatives to date include:

  • Ensuring a housing software system that supports the HCV program and the MTW Cohort #4 initiative
  • Established a Landlord Portal providing access to all forms and documents
  • Direct Deposits with payments cut up to 3 times per month
  • Real-time inspections, including acceptance of pictures and/invoices from landlords
  • Tenants move in the same day
  • Security Deposit Payment assistance for voucher holders who cannot afford to pay the required amount
  • Established Landlord Advisory Committee
  • The Landlord of the Year Award
Group photo

Closing thoughts

RHA knows that some landlords may be a bit apprehensive in accepting tenants who may have had problems maintaining housing stability in the past.  However, our residents are committed to succeeding, and we are committed to helping them succeed. Yet, we cannot do it alone. Landlords in our community, literally hold the key to our residents’ futures.

RHA is committed to actively exploring and aggressively seizing opportunities that move the agency forward in the fulfillment of its mission and strategic goals in ways that are reflective of local housing needs, while implementing activities designed to meet one or more of the MTW statutory objectives.

RHA understands that the flexibility provided by an MTW designation will lessen the impact of reductions in federal funding on the provision of core services; however, funding remains a significant challenge. It is creating and accessing opportunities that continues to be key in meeting this challenge, whether it be implementing increased program efficiencies, leveraging resources to preserve/increase affordable housing, or encouraging the improved well-being of the individuals and families that we serve.

“We are excited to see the future of RHA and the Rockford community through the MTW program. We cannot wait to start implementing the local goals that we have set in order to help residents and the community.” Laura Snyder, RHA CEO.