Loretta Owens has worked in the affordable housing industry for over 25 years and has served as the Director for the Denver Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program since 2014. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) administers over 6,600 vouchers which represents over 20,000 family members, with over 2,500 Housing Providers (Landlords). Additionally, in 2014 the HCV program converted over 6,000 Participant files to an electronic filing system.
Under Ms. Owens leadership she and her HCV team established regular Housing Provider education briefings and Housing Provider Appreciation luncheons. The HCV department expanded housing opportunities for program participants with the issuance of Project Based Vouchers (PBV) to over 115 existing units to local housing providers. The PBV portfolio was also expanded and has committed over 1,200 vouchers to both LIHTC projects and non-LIHTC projects.
Additionally, over 60 community based organizations have been issued HCV vouchers to assist the families from their locally run programs. Successful program management is inclusive–Ms. Owens created the Gold Star Renters Club for participants and VOICE (idea expression) and FUN (celebration) committees for the HCV staff. The Club and Committees are designed to both inspire and educate.
The DHA Housing Choice Voucher Program has been nationally recognized for its innovation and overall program success by leaders in the housing industry. Recognition includes the successful implementation of the U.S. Bank ReliaCard program for Utility Assistance Payments, HCV Stop the Line of Authority a streamlined LEAN workflow process, HCV Admission Fast Track workflow process, House 100 Veterans in 100 Days, PBV appreciation and recognition and Electronic Participant File Conversion.
Through the 2020 world pandemic (COVID-19), the HCV program implemented virtual inspection, on-line applications, rent adjustments, etc. all the while maintaining quality customer service to residents and housing providers. Overall the Housing Choice Voucher program continues to be rated as a High Performer by the Office of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 Management Assessment Program.