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Requirements to be a MSHDA Housing Agent

Overview of the MSHDA Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for approximately 28,000 very-low income households throughout the state of Michigan. The HCV program is federally funded through the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). MSHDA administers the largest statewide HCV program in the nation through a unique partnership with Civil Servant employees and third-party independent contractors known as Housing Agents. Housing Agents provide front-line services to program applicants, participants, owners, and management companies which includes the determination of participant eligibility and the approval of safe, decent, and affordable housing units. Program participants may select the unit of their choice ranging from single family homes to units within multifamily developments.

The Housing Agent is responsible for having a thorough knowledge of HUD Regulations and MSHDA Standard Operating Procedure for all MSHDA rental assistance programs that fall within the Housing Agent jurisdiction. The Housing Agent must understand the proper use and ensure the accurate completion of over 250 forms required to document the applicant, participant, and landlord files. The Housing Agent completes data entry into the specialized software program used to manage the HCV Program and to report data to HUD via the HUD-50058.

To learn more about the rental assistance programs managed by the Rental Assistance & Homeless Solutions (RAHS) division, please review the general information provided here:

General Expectations of Housing Agents and Their Staff

The MSHDA HCV Program maintains separate waiting lists for all counties within Michigan and currently preferences homeless households in need of rental assistance. The Housing Agent will request a list of names from a waiting list to make initial contact and start the housing process. After initial contact is made, the Housing Agent will determine eligibility for the HCV Program by conducting criminal background screenings and a review of all income, assets, expenses and liabilities for each member of the household. After initial eligibility is determined the applicant searches for housing and informs the Housing Agent once a potential unit has been located.

The Housing Agent conducts a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection to determine if the selected unit can be approved. If the unit meets program requirements and passes the inspection, the applicant can move-in after the Housing Agent receives a lease and a signed Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract. MSHDA cannot pay Housing Assistance Payments until all requirements for the HCV Program have been met. The Housing Agent will continue to work with the participant, owners, and/or management companies on matters related to the administration of the HCV Program. These matters include, but are not limited to, conducting annual certifications of income, completing annual HQS inspections, assisting in the move process, and creating new payment certifications if there has been a change in participant income or household members.

Additional summary of qualifications:

  • Direct experience working with HUD funded programs, specifically, the HCV Program
  • Direct experience working with HUD funded programs, generally, Public Housing or project management
  • Responsible for a minimum of 400 voucher holders in the assigned area
  • Successfully complete HQS training offered by MSHDA staff or other accredited HQS training course
  • Have an accessible office with standard office hours so participants and landlords can receive in-person assistance
  • Have standard phone hours and respond to callers within two-business days
  • Have emergency phone contacts to respond to and address HQS 24-hour violations
  • Hire adequate staff to cover all the essential duties of the HCV Program
  • Customer Service Skills
    • Sensitivity and compassion for a diverse group of clientele who have recently experienced homelessness and have minimal resources
    • The ability to diffuse hostile situations
    • The ability to resolve concerns efficiently and effectively
  • Verbal and Written Communication Requirements
    • In-person meetings
    • Phone call responses
    • Written letters and forms that are concise and complete
  • Collaboration with local service agencies
  • Management Skills
    • Train your staff on all requirements of the HCV Program
    • Hire staff that have experience and skill in working with programs serving people in need
    • Responsible for your actions and those of your staff
  • Computer Skills
    • Quickly learn new web-based programs required for the HCV Program
    • Accuracy in data entry skills

Required Trainings

  • Nan McKay and Associates - HCV Specialist
  • HQS Training conducted by MSHDA Staff or other accredited HQS training course

Becoming a MSHDA Housing Agent

Periodically, MSHDA seeks bids from prospective Housing Agents when it releases a Request for Proposal (RFP). If, after reviewing all of the information provided, you are interested in becoming a MSHDA Housing Agent, you may submit a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) when it is released for bids. When new Housing Agent contracts are available, MSHDA will post the RFP notification on SIGMA Vendor Self-Service (VSS) and on the MSHDA website under the RFP and Grant section.