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NHLP Resident Engagement Initiative

NHLP is engaged in an exciting new initiative, Dialogues for Change: Engaging Residents of Federally Assisted Housing in HUD Policymaking. The initiative was a response to Secretary Donovan's welcome desire for meaningful input from residents as HUD formulates new policies. NHLP work is supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Working with national advocates and HJN Members from around the country, NHLP has recruited a representative group of public housing tenants and their partners and a representative group of voucher participants and their partners to engage with Secretary Donovan and HUD senior staff to discuss:

- The future of the HUD rental assistance programs, including , the Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance (PETRA)
- Ways to maintain resident voices as policy proposals move forward
- Building an engaged and informed group of residents with ongoing, meaningful participatory role in HUD policies and programs

NHLP is providing training and technical assistance to the residents through webinars and conference calls in preparation for web-based meetings with HUD senior staff and face-to-face meetings with the Secretary in Washington, D.C. The purpose of these meetings has been to discuss what is now known as PETRA. The first meeting with the Secretary took place on January 20th with public housing tenants. The second meeting was held on April 14, 2010, when for the first time the Secretary and senior HUD staff meet with a combined group of public housing, voucher and multifamily tenants. A future meeting with the Secretary is anticipated. We are proud to play a role in making resident voices heard.


Letters from Tenants, HJN and other Tenant Advocates to HUD Regarding PETRA

Letters from residents who participated in the January and April meetings with the Secretary

Letter from the Resident Engagement Group to Representative Ellison, regarding H.R. 6468 (January 25, 2011)
On January 25, 2011, members of the Resident Engagement Group (REG) sent a letter to Representative Ellison commenting on H.R. 6468, the Rental Housing Revitalization Act of 2010, derived from HUD’s earlier proposal, the Preservation and Enhancement of Rental Assistance Act (PETRA).

Letters from other resident groups and advocates representing residents
Letter from a list of organizations to Secretary Donovan (March 19, 2010)

Letter from National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) Board of Directors to Colleagues (April 13, 2010) with attachment NAHT Preliminary Issues and Concerns About HUD’s TRA Initiative

Letter from Housing Justice Network (HJN) to Secretary Donovan (May 3, 2010)

National People’s Action, Reforms Necessary to Move Forward with Preserving, Enhancing and Transforming Rental Assistance (no date)

Letter from Housing Justice Network (HJN) to Secretary Donovan (July 30, 2010) with Bullet Point Recommendations

Power points

NHLP, Future of Public Housing: First Webinar/Teleconference for Public Housing Residents, December 16, 2010

HUD, Public Housing Residents and U.S. Department of HUD Webinar on Preservation of Public Housing, January 8, 2010

NHLP, Future of Section 8 Voucher Program: First Webinar for Voucher Tenants, January 22, 2010

NHLP, Future of Section 8 Voucher Program: Second Webinar for Voucher Tenants, January 28, 2010

NHLP and HUD, Housing Choice Voucher Residents and U.S. Department Of Housing and Urban Development Webinar, March 24, 2010

HUD, Transforming Rental Assistance (TRA): An Informational Webcast for Residents of HUD’s Rental Assistance Programs, March 29, 2010

HUD, Resident Conversation with HUD Staff, September 2, 2010

Other Materials

Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance (PETRA): What is it, what issues have residents raised and how has HUD responded?
NHLP releases a briefing paper on the Preserving, Enhancing and Transforming Rental Assistance Act (PETRA), Residents’ Concerns, and HUD Responses.

Photograph of January 20, 2010 meeting with Secretary Donovan and public housing residents and partners

NHLP, Side by side, Comparison of Public Housing to Project-Based Section 8: Tenant Rights, Rules and Funding Structure, updated April 2010

NHLP, side by side comparing the issues raised in the letters dated (March 19, April 13 and April 14) with PETRA and additional HUD response

Statutes, Regulations and Administrative References

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Gives Major Policy Address at HJN Conference, March 8, 2010

HUD, A Bill, PETRA (version cleared by OMB, May 11, 2010)

HUD, Making Change Together: 40 Ways HUD Stakeholders have Shaped the PETRA Legislation

HUD, Frequently Asked Question on Tenant Rights

HUD, Frequently Asked Questions from Tenants

HUD, PETRA Resident Participation, Rights and Protections, Side by Side Comparison with Current Law


More information about PETRA may be found on the HUD website,

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a PETRA Watch on its website,

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, podcast, April 27, 2010 Obama Budget Includes Major Plan to Preserve Needed Affordable Housing, March 16, 2010,

House of Representatives, Congressional Hearings on PETRA, including testimony by Judy Montanez, NAHT Board Member and Damaris Reyes, Executive Director, Good Old Lower East Side on behalf of National People’s Action (NPA),

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