TAVARES — Three recent hires of the Lake County Department of Community Services, Housing and Community Development Division, earned certification last month as Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Specialists.
Trudy Blackstone, Dawn Smith and Fernando Correa-Santiago earned the certification after taking a weeklong seminar in South Florida. According to Cheryl Thomas, Section 8 Housing Manager, the certification is a combination of understanding three different Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations: eligibility, rent calculation and occupancy.
Trudy Blackstone, Fernando Correa-Santiago and Dawn Smith (left to right) recently earned certification as Section 8 HCV Specialists.
“This is such a significant accomplishment for our Housing Intake Specialist staff,” Thomas said. “I believe this is the first time someone has passed such exams on the first try and with such high scores.”
The certification will assist Blackstone, Smith and Correa-Santiago with administering federally funded rental assistance to Lake County residents. The three Housing Intake Specialists currently oversee the estimated 485 rental-assistance vouchers in the County. Their routine duties include annual certification of the voucher recipients, interim certifications when changes occur to a voucher recipients qualifications and annual housing inspections, as well as special investigative inspections. In addition, Correa-Santiago provides assistance with Spanish-speaking voucher recipients.
“We all enjoy being in the position to help people out there in the community that are trying to better themselves and their families, and these housing vouchers definitely help,” Smith said.