HUD Ranks Lakewood Twp’s Rental Assistance Program Among Top in the Nation – for the 12th Consecutive Year

The Lakewood Township Residential Assistance Program (LTRAP), Lakewood’s biggest HUD Section 8 agency, once again attained a perfect 100% score on the Section Eight Management Assessment Program, (SEMAP).

SEMAP is the tool HUD uses to rate, and rank the performance of housing providers administering the Section 8 housing choice voucher program. SEMAP measures thirteen critical indicators such as selection from the Waiting List, Reasonable Rents, HQS Enforcement, Timely Rent Reexaminations, Lease-ups, Correct Tenant Payments, and Expanding Housing Opportunities. On May 1, LTRAP received notice from HUD that it again scored 100% for 2012. Since the inception of the SEMAP rating 13 years ago LTRAP has always been ranked by HUD in the “high” performance category, regularly scoring 100%. 

Founded and led by Rabbi Meir Hertz since its inception in 1977, LTRAP is administered by the Lakewood Tenants Organization (LTO), a New Jersey not-for-profit organization.  Last month, LTRAP marked 36 years of serving the affordable housing needs of Lakewood’s lower-income residents.

LTRAP is sponsored locally by the Township of Lakewood. However, one hundred (100%) percent of its $15 Million annual budget is derived from the federal government (HUD). There are currently a total of 109 Section 8 programs in New Jersey: 80 are administered by governmental housing authorities, and 29 by public and non-profit housing agencies.  LTRAP is by far the largest federally-funded, non-governmental provider of affordable housing in the state. As the SEMAP score shows, it is also one of the very best in the nation—public or private.

  • LTRAP currently administers 1,058 Section 8 Rental Assistance Program vouchers, providing over $1.2 Million in Section 8 rent subsidies monthly. All LTRAP subsidized-units are leased to income-eligible senior or disabled households and families. All are occupying safe, decent and sanitary dwelling units in the private market, owned by more than 800 participating landlords.
  • LTRAP currently has approximately 1,000 names on its Waiting List, 750 of which are Lakewood residents. Lakewood residents receive a preference over non-residents. LTRAP stopped taking applications in December, 2004, and will reopen applications’ intake only when the current list is nearly depleted, at which time the prospect for assisting additional applicants improves. Unfortunately, due to severe federal budgetary cutbacks there has been no new funding awarded to the Section 8 program in the past 18 years.  Additionally, this year with the federal sequester of funds, LTRAP’s budget has been seriously cut. As such, LTRAP is struggling just to maintain the families currently assisted. Consequently, the waiting list is now at a standstill.
  • LTRAP’s fiscal operations are audited annually by an Independent Public Accountant (IPAAudit), selected in a Request For Proposals (RFP) bid process. The fiscal audits for the past 35 years were consistently clean. The only finding ever made in all this time was in 2007 when LTRAP assisted more families than HUD authorized, despite the fact that financially LTRAP was able to do so, and did not exceed its budgetary authority. Copies of all the LTRAP annual Audit Reports are forwarded to the Lakewood Treasurer for inclusion in Lakewood’s Single Audit Report, as required.

“Now in the middle of its fourth decade of meeting the affordable housing needs of Lakewood’s neediest residents, LTRAP hopes to build on its accomplishments, and to reach and assist as many families as possible with the limited funding it receives from HUD,” LTRAP says. “But the key remains in Washington, with the President and with Congress.” [TLS]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know – I am waiting for three months for processing of a check – no problems, they just haven’t gotten to the paperwork!!! Doesn’t seem award worthy to me.

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