CHA board expected to split $61 million voucher contract

The Chicago Housing Authority is poised to split the $61 million contract to administer its housing voucher program between two outside companies.

CHAC, Inc., a subsidiary of Washington D.C.-based Quadel Consulting, has held the contract for the last 13 years. But when the housing agency's board of commissioners meet Tuesday, they are expected to vote to divide the contract between CHAC and CVR Associates, a consulting firm in Tampa, Fla.

The CVR contract will last for two years and nine months; the CHAC contract for two months less.

The CHA says the split will cut costs and improve customer service, but some housing advocates say dual contractors will make navigating the program even more confusing for voucher holders.

More than 34,000 families in Chicago participate in the federally funded housing voucher program. They search for housing on the open market, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pays the difference between what they can afford - generally 30 percent of their income - and the market-rate rent.

One of CHAC's major responsibilities has been to pay $28 million each month to the 15,600 landlords who accept housing vouchers. But the new resolution reassigns this responsibility back to the CHA. According to the agenda for the commission's meeting, "This transition will allow the CHA to improve internal controls and monitoring."

Commissioners will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Caroline Hedger Apartments, 6400 N. Sheridan Road.