Make the Most of MTW

By on Oct 26, 2022 in News

Moving To Work (MTW) was a groundbreaking policy moment for HUD in 1996. Through MTW, HUD selected a small group (or cohort) of public housing agencies (PHAs) for the chance to create their own programs using HUD money.

Gabrielle Van Horn speaks at NAHRO last month.

The only caveat to these MTW programs was the they must accomplish specific goals set by HUD, including:

  • Finding better ways to use federal funds with emphasis on reducing costs and improving effectiveness and availability of services
  • Helping households improve economic self-sufficiency through incentives for participation in job training, education or job search activities
  • Increasing the availability and selection of housing resources for low-income households

As a Demonstration Program, HUD share successes and challenges that each PHA participating in MTW experiences. So, MTW is not just a chance for PHAs to help their local communities, but also help other PHAs craft programs that may work elsewhere.

MTW’s recent expansion is an opportunity for more agencies to participate in creating and testing innovative housing policies that can revolutionize the subsidized housing industry. That makes this a great time to check in with Gabrielle Van Horn, director of PHA support for Yardi, to get her perspective on MTW’s history and future.

Gabrielle, tell us about Yardi’s first involvement with MTW.

Our experience goes back more than two decades, all the way back to 2000. From the beginning, we’ve had MTW clients working with programs falling under the categories of administrative efficiencies, rent reform, work requirements and incentive programs. Collaboration with our customers in program design and our working experience with HUD programs have helped make our customers’ visions come to life. Yardi is honored to partner with some of the most progressive agencies in the country.

About half of the original MTW agencies are Yardi clients, so we were well positioned to work on the expansion phase of MTW. We have clients in each cohort. We took the initiative to engage with them as soon as possible so that we could support their newly designed programs and make sure they could track data for accounting, household demographics, changes in income and other key information.

How does Yardi help track control groups?

To me, HUD’s requirement of control groups is one of most interesting components of the MTW Expansion guidelines. Control group data can be quite helpful in testing program design. Tracking non-participating households alongside those that are part of MTW designed programs makes it possible to prove the effectiveness of locally designed programs. That proof will go a long way in the future of public policy design. That’s why Yardi has ensured that control group tracking is a key component of our custom programming for MTW Expansion rent reform clients.

Can you give us an update on how Yardi is supporting MTW Expansion 50058s?

This is a new 50058 form and a new file format. We’ll be using new technology to submit these 50058s to HUD to HIP (Housing Information Portal). We have been testing and providing feedback to HUD since they first opened their original testing site to vendors. As soon as HUD is ready, we’ll have the interfaces in place to submit them electronically. One of the greatest benefits of having a longstanding relationship with HUD is the trust that we are doing our part. That means that our clients feel comfortable and confident knowing we have designed features that will reflect their vision and meet HUD’s compliance requirements.

What do you think is the most exciting cohort?

I am very excited about the Landlord Incentives cohort. Finding ways to make the program more appealing to landlords is critical to the future of the Housing Choice Voucher program.

Are you prepared for the next MTW cohort?

Yes. We have a team of programmers and support staff ready for the next programs that come from our clients. But, here’s an even better question: is the next cohort ready for MTW? To those agencies just starting out, please feel free to contact me. We can discuss your plans for MTW, talk about the work we’ve done and how your newly selected MTW agency can benefit from our history and success.

For more information visit or email [email protected].