|HAC Supervisor of Inspection Services Logan Patrick (left) and Inspector John Paul conduct inspections for households that receive Section 8 vouchers.|
HAC’s Leased Housing Department is not only the agency’s oldest program, it is among its largest, impacting nearly 1,200 households on an annual basis, allowing them to remain on Cape Cod and the Islands thanks to the support of rental housing vouchers.
“I think we touch the most households as a department in a given year,” said HAC Director of Leased Housing Cindi Maule.
“And certainly our inspectors, they’re going into a lot more homes than any other department,” added Anne Williams, the assistant director for leased housing.
Inspections are done to ensure those receiving housing vouchers through the federally-funded Section 8 program are living in safe, decent homes or apartments using a set of regulations prescribed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). At HAC, they are conducted by two employees – Supervisor of Inspection Services Logan Patrick and Inspector John Paul.
Each unit receives an initial inspection, Maule said, which determines the amount of rent suitable for it. Follow-up inspections are conducted either annually or biannually to ensure the landlord is fulfilling their responsibilities and tenants are complying with theirs. It’s a balancing act that Patrick said requires inspectors to remain neutral and protect landlords as well as their tenants.
The Face of Leased Housing
Both Patrick and Paul, Maule said, “are the face of Leased Housing and Section 8… Inspectors are entering into people’s homes and private spaces so they are aware of that and being respectful of that.”
Patrick, who has over 21 years’ worth of experience conducting housing inspections, arrived at HAC a little over a year ago. He most recently served as the director of rental assistance at Housing Solutions in Kingston.
A firm believer in social justice, Patrick understands the importance of programs like Section 8 which accesses federal funds to cover a portion of one’s rent for those who meet income eligibility requirements. That funding helps to stabilize their housing to ensure they can remain here.
“We work with people who have the least in our society and need the most, through no fault of their own,” Patrick said. “We’re talking about the elderly and the disabled. We also service a lot of working class people who, because their wages are so low, can’t afford to rent and they need financial assistance… I want our clients to have housing and be in a safe place to either raise their kids or go to work, and not have to worry about having a roof over their head.”