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December 2019
Let's Talk Accessibility: A Letter from Your PNRC President Cupid Alexander
As Houser’s, one of our core fundamental deliverables THROUGH HOUSING is accessibility; whether that is accessibility through affordability, accessibility through uses and accommodations due to a physical or mental disability, or whether that is accessibility into Upward mobility through a family self-sufficiency program (FSS) or Individual Development Account (IDA) program geared towards the goal of independent homeownership – we aim to improve access. We seemingly all agree; access is key. Which is why a thought provoking article written by NEXT CITY, begs for our industry to – especially in the Pacific Northwest – examine the methods used in producing, and maintaining, increased access to units. 
The examination takes place in the realm of the Rental Assistance Program known as RAD – I know many are familiar with it. So, ahead of the traditional deep breath you take before stating how your Housing Entity is finding this as one of the only legitimate options in making the capital repairs and deferred maintenance critical to supporting your housing stock, or for those of you who may see this as the privatization of public assets with the potential or eventual elimination of accessibility now or in the future; lets remind our friends who are unfamiliar with what RAD is.
RAD’s technical definition can be found HERE , but a general synopsis is this; there are over $35 BILLION (with a “B”) in capitol repairs needed nationwide , and this a robust response mechanism in which private and public debt can be leveraged to achieve some of those repairs. Residents facing RAD conversion of their units have robust protections which allow them flexibility; they can be given the right of refusal to return to their units, notified of their relocation rights, and not face rescreening. An additional option of a tenant-based voucher may be offered to residents who wish to move from the property. Also- the converted property stays in the public stewardship realm with requirements of ongoing ownership or control by a public or non-profit entity. Cool right? Not so fast.
The explanation of RAD can be confusing; ranging from the “ privatization of public housing “ to the “ loss of public units ” – the definitions used stoke the imagination of those who fear that access, and deeply needed units, will be lost. And when speaking of the need to preserve units, to create more points of access, to get the deeply needed repairs in order for the units to be up to habitability standards and as livable unit options, every dollar is sorely needed.
And yet, the other side of this is the public battle. The information and public engagement needed to make sure that those who fear that access (due to elimination of units) will not happen, needs to also be a priority.
And that’s where we come in! As PNRC- NAHRO, we have the talent, personnel, and will to help share information. To help ease the thoughts of those who have these fears, and to help coach up our community and government leaders so we can continue to provide the access through maintenance and conversion for those who trust us to do such. I ask of you all, continue your hard & soft educational efforts and information sharing campaigns – and keep up the good work!
Meet Your New Regional Service Officer, Shelli Scrogum
Pacific Northwest Regional Chapter is proud to introduce to you our new Regional Service Officer, Shelli Scrogum.
Shelli is Principle of S & S Unlimited, Inc., an association management company started in 2003. With over 18 years of experience in the association management field, she specializes in assisting clients reach their goals through strategically focused events, coordinated to align seamlessly with each client’s vision. 
Shelli's extensive experience within our industry brings a new level of competence and technical expertise to our organization and she is excited to lead our organization into bright future.
Shelli is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Events Industry Council (EIC) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
She brings with her a team with extensive insight with years of experience in marketing, networking, event coordinating, fundraising, and non-profit work and leadership. We look forward to an exciting partnership with Shelli and her team for years to come.
King County Housing Authority Honored With Two Awards
The King County Housing Authority will receive two new awards of incremental Housing Choice Vouchers.
HUD has notified KCHA that we are being awarded $2.386 million in annual subsidy under the Mainstream program, which will enable us to issue 198 additional vouchers for non-elderly disabled households. KCHA’s award was one of the largest in the country – only two housing authorities received over 200 vouchers. These subsidies will be deployed through our HASP (Housing Access and Services Program) partnership and KCHA and our partners are gearing up quickly to issue the vouchers and assist households in successfully leasing up.
The second award provided 67 additional VASH vouchers for homeless veterans with disabilities. This will bring our program for homeless veterans up to 914 vouchers.
Most of the households that will be housed with these 265 additional vouchers will be coming out of homelessness – this is truly a critically needed resource – and KCHA's ability to secure and quickly deploy additional vouchers is literally saving lives.
After 33 Years Pam Thompson Retires From Northeast Oregon Housing Authority
A 33 year old woman made a choice between working for the La Grande Police Department, the Grande Ronde Hospital, or working for the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority. My choice was clear. The Housing Authorities mission was exactly what I wanted to do, and that was to help people not so privileged as I. I wanted to use my skills where I knew they would do some good. Hired by Executive Director, Lynn Schoesslor on September 8, 1986, I started out as a Clerical Aide and moved into the position of Director of Finance. 33 years, 3 months, and 23 days later, here I am getting ready to retire on December 31, 2019.
NAHRO has been a big part of my journey. The Cascade Chapter and the Pacific Northwest Regional Council is where it started. I have been a member of NAHRO for 32 years. I have been on the PNRC Executive Board for 20 of those years, filling many different positions but always seemed to end up as the VP for Member Services. At the National Level, I also was on the Member Services Committee and was actually the VP with Portfolio for National NAHRO and the Board of Governors for one term. I held other positions along the way such as 18 years on the Board of Ethics and Credentialing Trustees, and the Nominating and Election Committee. I just couldn’t say “NO”. If they needed me, I usually went where needed.
There have been many ups and downs along the way. The “ups” taught me Humility and Perseverance. The “downs” taught me Courage and Strength. Success is not measured by the position we have reached in life, but by the obstacles we have overcome. There were many.
As I leave professional life, I want to say that this journey has been very rewarding and very humbling. I hope that I have made a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small it was. There is so much more to do. What you do matters!
Thank You to the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO. I have made such wonderful and lasting friendships. Always remember to Sing, Dance, and Live.
Homes for Good Innovates through Collaborative Partnership
Homes for Good aimed to improve the ability for Section 8 voucher holders to obtain housing by conducting a survey of previous voucher holders who were unable to use their voucher. The data showed that the reason many voucher holders were unable to use their voucher is due to the housing barrier of being unable to afford the security deposit. Homes for Good used this information making a data driven decision to create a Section 8 Deposit Loan Pilot Program in collaboration with Community Lending Works, a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Through this partnership, voucher holders gained the ability to apply for a low-cost loan to assist with their security deposit.
The Section 8 Security Deposit Loan Pilot Program was born from $10,000 collaboratively funded on behalf of both Homes for Good and Community Lending Works. The program resulted in 16 approved loans averaging $650, with a 94% rate of successful loan repayment. Those that accessed the loan program were 38% more likely to use their voucher and retain housing than Homes for Good’s general voucher population. This data indicates that the program improved the voucher holder’s ability to successfully lease-up, which benefited both the tenant in obtaining housing, the landlord in limiting vacancy loss and the Housing Choice Voucher program in increasing the lease-up rate. The program’s pilot successfully proved that the program can be sustainable from the high rate of repayment.
Homes for Good recently received $50,000 grant funding via Meyer Memorial Trust to continue forward with the Section 8 Security Deposit Loan program. This funding allocation will allow Homes for Good to assist 77 households in successfully accessing housing with assistance from the Section 8 Security Deposit Loan Program over the next year.
A Statement from the New Executive Director of US Interagency Council of Homelessness Dr. Robert G. Marbut, Jr.
It is a true honor to be chosen as the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. This position comes with very important and urgent responsibilities, and I commit to do everything within my power to be a good steward while serving in this position.
There is no way to sugarcoat the situation. With more than 194,000 unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness, more than 850,000 homelessness assistance beds, and more than 1,300,000 children and youth identified by public schools as experiencing homelessness, we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. This crisis is especially pronounced in California and other Western States. Sadly, more than 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness died last year in Los Angeles alone, and the number of individuals might be even higher this year.
The evidence is clear. We are in a real crisis! Playing games with data, changing definitions and hiding from realities only mask the challenges we face. This in turn impedes implementing real solutions that address the true causes of homelessness. We need to be honest without ourselves; much of what we have been doing is not working.  If it were working, the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness would be dropping.
I am looking forward to working with the President, Member Agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Congress, as well as State/Local Governments and community-based service providers to address these critical issues. Working together, we can make the needed changes to address this crisis.
I would like to thank the President, the White House staff and outgoing USICH Chair Frank Brogan for the honor of this service assignment. I would also like to acknowledge former Executive Director Matthew Doherty’s dedicated service over the last five years. 
Working together, we can successfully take on this challenge.
Steve Walker Named New Executive Director of Washington State Housing Finance Commission
After a nationwide search the Washington State Housing Finance Commission has named Steve Walker our next executive director in place of our Kim Herman, who retires at the end of December after 35 years at the helm. Here’s a link to the press release.
1,200 Applicants Selected Out of 4,883 for Tacoma Housing Authority's Low Income Housing Assistance
During two weeks in October, Tacoma Housing Authority invited people to apply for the wait list to receive housing or housing assistance. We invited only households with three or more people because our waitlist for smaller households is already long. We received 4,883 applications representing 18,979 people. They applied on-line, by phone or in person.
Their data paint a somber picture:
● 33% of the applicants work full time
● 93% of the households have children
● 43% of the applicants are currently homeless
● 12% of applicants slept in a homeless encampment, car, abandoned building or outdoors the night before they applied
Of the 4,883 eligible applicant households, we randomly chose 1,200 for the wait list. This is about the number of households we can serve within the next two years. In early November we notified applicants if they were or were not selected for the waitlist.
“These wait list openings are always a somber reminder of the unmet need in Tacoma and Pierce County for affordable, safe and stable housing. These applicants are parents who cannot afford rent on a full time wage. and certainly not on disability income or public assistance. Their children struggle in school because their families must move often. These applicants are college students who struggle to balance parenthood, work and homelessness. The ones THA randomly choosesfor assistance are the lucky ones.” – Michael Mirra, THA Executive Director
Housing Alliance and Community Partnerships in Pocatello Opens 24 New Units
Housing Alliance and Community Partnerships in Pocatello recently held a ribbon cutting on 24 new units. The units are 3 bedroom 1.5 bath and, although below the payment standard rate, will be open market rentals. We are especially excited to offer some beautiful features at this price point. The units have custom cabinets, quartz countertops, and high quality flooring throughout. The property has a conventional loan and cost $87,500/unit to build. Despite argument from the Executive Director, the HACP Board of Commissioners voted to name the property Sunnyside Place. We are thrilled to offer these quality units at an affordable price to our community.