Collection: Essentials for Commissioners


If a board is clear about its role and responsibilities, the housing authority is on the track to success. Essential for new and veteran board members, and for executive directors, this training offers a solid overview of commissioner legal responsibilities. Included are topics such as understanding your PHA's policies and how to monitor them, and the relationships between the board members, executive director, staff, HUD, and the community. What does the board need to know about public housing asset management? About housing choice voucher utilization? What are the fundamentals of performance measures, finances, and management controls all commissioners should understand? How can the PHA avoid lawsuits? What is the PHA's plan for improvement of at-risk areas? This is your opportunity to come together and think strategically.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Essentials for Commissioners, you should have developed and mastered the skills needed to play an active role on a PHA's board of commissioners and make strategic long-term decisions for a housing authority.

Day One

  • Identify the key elements that should be addressed in the PHA's admissions and continued occupancy policy (ACOP), administrative plan, and capital fund plan
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the board, board members, the executive director, and PHA staff, emphasizing the relationships between each
  • Define the purpose of the Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) and identify its key performance indicators
  • Define the purpose of the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and recognize the relevant changes in the PHAS interim rule

Day Two

  • Correctly apply federal fair housing laws to manage nondiscrimination, including areas such as VAWA, developing a service and accommodation policy, and defining the role and essential duties of the 504 coordinator
  • Apply the principles and practices of effective meetings
  • Identify and apply the basic steps in the strategic planning process
  • Recognize the core qualities of a leader

Seminar #101-040

View the agenda for in-person classes
View the agenda for live web trainings
METHOD: A group-live seminar featuring PowerPoint, case studies, group discussion, course book, and Q&A
LENGTH: Two days
AUDIENCE: Commissioners
EXAM: Exam available upon request. Please email
REGISTER: Fill out the PDF registration form and email to Or select the seminar you'd like to attend from the list of locations and dates below to order online.

By registering for and attending this training, you agree that you will not copy, share, post, or otherwise disseminate training or exam materials, including but not limited to posting on the internet, internal network, shared drive, or other publicly accessible means of access. Unauthorized distribution of NMA materials may result in the loss of your certification and/or legal action. Hotel Recommendations: Please note that these are only recommendations. We also recommend asking for the government rate when booking rooms at any hotel. Cancellations: If you are unable to attend this seminar, you may send a substitute or receive a credit toward a future seminar, to be attended within a one-year period. If you are unable to attend, you must notify NMA in writing at least 60 calendar days prior to the start date of the seminar. If you do not notify NMA in writing, you are responsible for the entire registration fee. If you cancel less than 60 days prior to the start date of this seminar, a cancellation fee of $150 will be assessed. Substitutions must be in writing on company letterhead with the seminar name, location and attendee name, and received by NMA prior to the seminar start date. NMA reserves the right to cancel a seminar at any time. If a seminar is canceled by NMA, registration fees will be refunded or credited in full. NMA is not responsible for airfare, lodging or other related expenses. Please plan ahead by purchasing refundable airfare. Retaking Exams: Exam retake options vary; call for details. You are permitted to fail an exam three times before you are required to retake the seminar. NMA reserves the right to change any policies or pricing at any time and in its sole discretion. For more information regarding refund, complaint and program cancellation policies, please contact our offices at 800.783.3100.