Joe Schiff


Banish the Blinders

Ep. 14 - Joe Schiff, President of The Schiff Group which specializes in consulting with housing authorities on their problems and opportunities urges agencies to 'take off the blinders' and realize that excessive bureaucracy, duplication, and paperwork stifle efforts to help more people get housing.

Top Takeaways:

    • Why housing authorities need subsidies from the federal government to work appropriately
    • Why people should be able to move out on their own and become self-sufficient after having a respite in public housing
    • The reason why public housing authorities tend to issue financial assistance to the neediest people even though they can do that to up 50-80% in various programs
    • The need for leadership in the public housing programs that have been missing

Listen as he deep dives into what is and is not working in public housing.

"Affordable housing is essential. Consider affordable housing as God's work in helping people who need help. Understand that you're not just putting a roof over someone's head. You need to create an atmosphere that enables that person to help themselves so they can be more self-sufficient.


Joe has been responsible for housing millions of families and a continual voice for reforming the system. In this interview he offers rapid fire ideas for streamlining processes and building efficiency into housing initiatives. With housing still struggling to gain traction in the political arena, outside the box thinking is more essential than ever.

Joe with Pam PatenaudeJoe Schiff has been at the highest levels of HUD with three positions at HUD: Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing, Special Advisory to the Secretary of HUD, and was manager of the Kentucky HUD Field Office. As the Assistant Secretary of PIH, he was responsible for the overall operation of the nation's public housing, Indian housing, and tenant-based Section 8 programs. These programs housed almost 3 million families with a budget of $15 billion (almost 60% of the entire HUD budget) and supervised 1648 employees in Washington and 51 other offices around the country. As the Special Advisor to the Secretary, he served as the principal advisor to the Secretary for public and Indian Housing matters while awaiting confirmation. And as the Manager of the HUD Field Office, he was responsible for the oversight and implementation of all HUD programs in the state of Kentucky.


HUD Golden Eagle Award (HUD's highest honor) 1993

HUD Manager of the Year for the Southeastern US  1987

President, Kentucky Association of Realtors   1985

Kentucky Realtor of the Year  1982

Louisville Realtor of the Year  1982




Listen in to learn why the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) would be the best replacement for affordable housing in the long run. You will also learn why the public housing sector has faced so many challenges in the last 50 years which have led to its poor public image.

Key Moments

He shares his view on the last 50 years of the affordable housing sector [3:15]

He shares some of the things he did when he first got to HUD [7:02]

How most housing authorities are limited by appropriations given by HUD [9:02]

Why he believes there's more interest in affordable housing at the local level than at the national level [13:04]

What is RAD and why is it the most appropriate vehicle for affordable housing if the finances work [14:42]

Why the appropriation for PBRA is more solid than PBV [17:43]

He describes his legacy as the ability to help the community who need affordable housing without expecting to get rich out of it [22:36]

The poor public image of the public housing program and why it should be replaced by RAD 25:15

The stories from his days in HUD and how they shaped his opinion on public housing [28:14]

He describes his view on the future of affordable housing [32:40]

The life lesson that he would pass along to young people of today who are looking to affordable housing [35:16]


The Schiff Group: Joe Schiff

Joe Schiff Bio

C-Span Appearance


Public Housing Reform


Joe Ventrone

Al Dellibovi

Joseph Schuldiner

Norm McLoughlin

YouTube Video

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