The Latest News

September 2016

President's Message
Hello Housers,

We have recently been considering something many of you have considered or have actually done. We considered the possibility of pursuing a RAD conversion with my public housing property. We were drawn to the idea of pulling the property out of HUD's Public Housing Portfolio and thus eliminating the many restrictions and endless reporting. How could that not be tempting?

What we found was that RAD does not pencil out for us. We have a small property (72 units) in a small, rural town where the FMR's are really, pretty low. There is currently no debt against this property. After completing the analysis, we found that the debt that would be incurred was not an amount I or my board could be comfortable with. Furthermore, the amount required for investment in each unit just doesn't make sense. Our units are not in need of this much renovation. Our property is in fabulous condition! Decision? RAD does not work for us. So what does? At this point we will be leaving this property in the Public Housing Portfolio.

I know that we are not alone. Although RAD has provided GREAT benefits to many agencies in our region, there are many others that it simply does not pencil out for. This makes me realize that we need to unify our voices and tell HUD that we need another option. A demo/dispo option could work for an agency like mine. By removing expectation for large investment but allowing a method for PHAs to retain ownership, many smaller, rural agencies would be able to participate.

A method similar to this was available for a very brief window in 2013. HUD opened an option, albeit briefly, for PHAs to use Housing Choice Vouchers or to Project Base Vouchers in their public housing and it required no investment. It was an amazing opportunity designed for smaller agencies. However, it had such brief availability, most agencies didn't even know about it. We knew. But with the brief window of time allowed, we were not able to pull the full application together in time. This is an alternative that HUD needs to offer again.

As an organization, our voices need to unite in order to give HUD solid ideas of what WOULD work for our agencies as opposed to being given one option that can be like fitting a square peg into a round hole. I look forward to your input and to continuing this discussion.



Regional News RegNews1
HCVEIR & UPCS Trainings coming soon!

Housing Choice Voucher Eligibility, Income and Rent Calculation (HCVEIR) Training w/ Certification Exam
Wednesday, October 26 to Friday, October 28, 2016 -  Boise, ID

Now, as never before, it is imperative that Housing Authorities accurately determine income and calculate rent accurately. HUD, by PIH Notice 2007-27 (HA) Disallowed Costs and Sanctions from On-site Monitoring Reviews, is monitoring agencies and enforcing penalties for errors. The training will cover the issues of: factors of eligibility, denial of assistance, screening, determination of unit size, non-discrimination/equal opportunity, annual income, income form assets, income exclusions, adjusted income, verification of factors affecting eligibility and rent, TTP, maximum initial rent burden, maximum subsidy, rents and payments, prorated assistance, minimum rent, imputed welfare income, and earned income disallowance.  

Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) Training w/ Certification Exam 
Monday, November 7 to Wednesday, Nove mber 9, 2016 - 
Renton, WA

Provides participants with the knowledge and skills needed to properly inspect Public Housing Agency (PHA) Program units. This interactive and comprehensive training, which discusses specifications of the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and the inspector's roles and responsibilities, enhances participants' knowledge of and abilities to meet new challenges and procedures related to using Uniform Physical Condition Standards. This training now incorporates NAHRO's Ethics for Specialist module, making it more convenient than ever to meet the requirements for the  CSI-UPCS certification

Exciting Conference News!

Tim Wise
The PNRC Conference Planning Committee is excited to announce that our Keynote Speaker for the 2017 Conference will be Tim Wise, anti-racist essayist, author and speaker.

Tim Wise, whom scholar and philosopher Cornel West calls, "A vanilla brother in the tradition of (abolitionist) John Brown," is among the nation's most prominent antiracist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.

To learn more about Tim Wise go to his website.

Mark your calendar to see Tim Wise at the 2017 PNRC Annual Conference - April 23-25 in Portland, OR.

National Night Out
YHA's National Night Out had vendors, face painting booth, Toppenish Fire Personnel and  American Medical Response Ambulance Personnel. Dr. Health E. Hound, from United Health was a huge hit with the kids. There was a raffle of many different items. Two bikes were donated by local businesses and were raffled off also.

  Seattle Housing Authority Recognized for its Commitment to Resident Safety

The national Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group has announced Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) as the winner of its 2016 Risk Management Award for the Resident Safety category.

As part of its ongoing commitment to providing a safe living environment for residents and a safe work environment for staff members, SHA implemented a new scored Facility Safety Audit (FSA) in January 2015. The FSA enhances the agency's safety measures and regulatory compliance for its buildings. 

In the 2015 revision of the previous FSA, which had been in place for several years, new sections were added to improve overall safety at each site location, including General Safety, General Housekeeping, Hazard Communication, Egress, Fire and Electrical Hazards Prevention and Safety, Building Exterior and Grounds, Workplace Violence Prevention and Safe Work Behaviors. 

"On behalf of our residents, we are honored to receive the HAI Group's Risk Management Award for Resident Safety," said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of SHA. "We are continuously finding ways to improve the safety of our buildings and appreciate this recognition of our efforts."

The new FSA has further strengthened the partnership between the Safety, Health and Emergency Manager and Property Management. Once an audit is completed, results are shared with the building's property management staff and work orders are issued to fix any problems. SHA also implemented a recognition program for buildings that score 90 percent or higher to boost morale and drive heightened attention to safety throughout the organization. 

New Commissioner Appointed to SHA Board

The Seattle City Council today confirmed Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's appointment of Ahmed Abdi to the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) Board of Commissioners. The seven-member Board of Commissioners includes five at-large positions and two SHA resident positions. Abdi will serve in one of the resident positions. Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms.
The Board has oversight on SHA policies and approves the agency's annual budget.
Ahmed Abdi

Commissioners are also responsible for hiring the executive director, a position currently held by Andrew J. Lofton. "Mr. Abdi brings substantial community engagement experience and has done significant work related to economic progress for low-income people," Lofton said. "He is a resident of NewHolly, and I am excited that he is joining the Board."

Abdi is an Outreach Manager at Fair Work Center where he is responsible for organizing and conducting workshops for community partner organizations around King County. He also helps coordinate the Fair Work Collaborative, a coalition of 10 organizations committed to collaboratively educating workers on labor standards. Abdi previously held positions with SEIU 775, Pastoralist Girls Initiative, Working Washington, African Diaspora of Washington, Somali American Public Advocacy Committee, Crest Services, and Jewish Vocational Services. He volunteers at East African Community Services and serves on the board of African Diaspora of Washington.

Abdi is replacing former resident commissioner Aser Ashkir.  He will join current board members Deborah Canavan Thiele (chair), Emily Abbey (vice-chair), Dr. Paula Houston, David Moseley, Zachary Pullin and Jermaine Smiley.
Centralia Mobile-home Residents Purchase Their Community

This summer, about 200 low-income residents northeast of Centralia are making long-awaited improvements to their neighborhood.

That's because they own it now. The 45-site Hillside "mobile-home park" on Windsor Avenue now belongs to its residents, who recently purchased the land and infrastructure with the help of a loan from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and other partners.
"We are excited to be a part of transforming this community," says Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission.

Over 90% of the homeowners in the new Hillside Homeowners Cooperative are Spanish speakers employed at local timber, agricultural and manufacturing sectors-and their relief is unanimous as they begin to tackle new challenges and future plans for their cooperative.
"As part owner, I find comfort in knowing that my place here is secured," says Gaby NiƱo, treasurer of the Hillside Homeowners Cooperative. "We are currently talking about fixing the roads and securing our mailboxes. We are also talking about our options with the forested parcels."

In most manufactured home communities (also known as "mobile-home parks"), residents own their homes, but not the land beneath them-making them vulnerable to rate increases, deferred maintenance, and losing their homes to redevelopment if the land should be sold.
In order for Hillside to purchase the land, the community members first formed a resident-owned cooperative (ROC) in which each homeowner buys one low-cost share in exchange for a vote. They elect a board of directors and vote on larger matters like the annual budget, bylaws and community rules.

The Hillside Cooperative then bought their land for $1.44 million with the help of a loan from ROC USA Capital, Mercy Loan Fund and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. ROC Northwest helped facilitate the sale and provided technical assistance, and will continue to support the community for the next several years.

ROC Northwest also connected the Hillside community to a wealth of resources to empower residents with technology literacy, ESL support, and Spanish reading and writing skills, thanks to a partnership between the Olympia-based nonprofit CIELO, student interns from Evergreen State College, donated computers and a $10,000 grant from Compass Compact.
"While working with them to form a cooperative, purchase and organize, we have learned a lot about the talent that exists in the community to operate a homeowners co-op," says Daniel Arranaga of ROC Northwest, who supported the cooperative and led the language literacy initiative.

The community's biggest hurdle will be finding a solution for unusually high utility bills that cost homeowners several hundred dollars a month. Hillside is exploring the possibility of annexation to the city of Centralia, which would allow lower utility rates and contribute to long-term affordability for residents.

Bellevue's Highland Village Apartment Complex Preserved as Affordable Housing
  The King County Housing Authority 
has reached an agreement with 
local developer Intracorp to preserve the Highland Village apartment complex as affordable housing.

The unprecedented agreement allows the 76 apartments to remain permanently as affordable housing. Intracorp had submitted plans to redevelop the property to build 87 new for sale townhomes.  The project would have displaced all residents of the Highland Village apartment complex.  Read Entire Press Release Here.
Parkview Terrace is the First, New Construction Multi-family ffordable Housing Proj ect 
Built in Grants Pass in More than Twenty Years  
Construction started in summer of 2015 and will be complete and fully leased by the end of August this year.   Parkview Terrace provid es fifty rental-housing units to families and
 individuals ear ning 50% area median income or less.
Parkview Terrace is ideally located on a public transport ation line and is within walking distance to a public elementary  school.  It's also within two miles of the Grants Pass downtown core offering retail, shopping and employment opportunities.    

We are pro ud of our partnerships with the Josephine Housing and Community Development Council and the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services to bring this highly needed, and long over-due housing to the Grants Pass community.

The Concord Downtown Medford

The Housing  Authority's first downtown development of 50 apartments in four stories will be ready for occupancy Winter 2016. Residents of the building at 6th & Grape Streets will benefit from nearby public transportation, needed services, and a walking or biking commute for those working downtown. Pathway Enterprises and La Clinica are just two valued service partners of the project.
National News

NAHRO Members Send More Than 1,500 Letters to Congress in August

Thank you, NAHRO members! We've reached our ambitious goal!

Each week, NAHRO asked its members to send one letter per week to their legislators on a different topic that is critical to housing and community and development. NAHRO members responded, sending more than 1,500 letters to Capitol Hill during the month of August and reaching our goal. This is a 50 percent increase over the August 2015 advocacy campaign.
This is a huge accomplishment and NAHRO thanks everyone who took the time to send letters each week and urge their colleagues to do the same. Our voices have been heard on Capitol Hill heading into an important September session prior to the election.

The most popular letter was a thank you to lawmakers for approving the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA, H.R. 3700). NAHRO thanks its members and stakeholders for praising Congress for a job well done and ensuring the loudest message from its advocates this summer was "thank you."

The "thank you" alert, as well as one focused on the upcoming fiscal year and small housing agencies, is still available on NAHRO's Advocacy Action Center. If you missed any of these alerts, please take the time to send them now!

Thank you again for helping NAHRO reach its goal!

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