May 15, 2013 Leave a comment
While public housing funding for May is now at an 82% proration level (up from 79% in April), sequestration is still in effect, and Congress shows no inclination to reverse it any time soon.
The business of owning and managing affordable housing in decent, safe, and sanitary condition and in good repair remains our mission. PHAs need to plan more strategically than ever before. So, as all businesses must ask in tough times: How can we maximize dollars and cut costs?
Tip #20: Consider at least partial regionalization.
If you’re a small to medium PHA in the vicinity of other PHAs, consider the cost savings if you collaborate in some essential functions. Maybe you’re not interested in or ready for full regionalization. But think about it: a regional site-based waiting list would give verified applicants much more choice. Regional accounting, HR, quality control (QC), RFPs and RFQs, and training could save a lot of needed dollars.
To review, here are the 20 tips we’ve discussed over the course of this series:
- Maximize occupancy.
- Set performance standards for each property.
- Give property managers responsibility and authority to fill units by implementing site-based waiting lists.
- Consider establishing slightly more generous occupancy standards for the hard-to-fill properties.
- Market like a pro.
- Collect rents and other amounts owed by resident families.
- Collect amounts owed by ex-residents.
- Look at entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Consider RAD if your properties are badly in need of capital improvements and are in a decent neighborhood.
- Set performance standards and manage to them.
- Keep central office costs within budget.
- Look at your benefits for new employees.
- Look at your maintenance costs.
- Look at your transfer policies.
- Consider a superpreference for the HCV waiting list for public housing victims of domestic violence.
- Look at time efficiencies for staff.
- Coordinate and facilitate economic self-sufficiency strategies for public housing residents.
- Watch the little things.
- Limit liability.
- Consider at least partial regionalization.
Public housing directors and managers know how to do the job with tight resources. Working with reduced funding is a challenge. With strategic planning, accurate and timely reporting and monitoring of property performance, and highly competent property managers and staff, the PHA can ensure its properties are financially viable. As with any business, the properties need to look at ways to increase income and decrease costs. Looking collaboratively at revenue and expenditures enables the PHA to make those smart asset management decisions.
NMA senior associate Cara Gillette trains, consults, and provides technical assistance nationwide in fair housing, public housing management, hearings, economic self-sufficiency, and governing boards. Prior to joining NMA, Ms. Gillette served at the San Diego Housing Commission, administering its public housing and Section 8 waiting lists, serving as hearing officer, managing public housing, and overseeing resident economic development programs. She has previously written for the NMA blog about blended occupancy projects.
If you find that you need staffing help during sequestration, NMA can assist your agency with recertifications (done remotely), quality control, outsourced hearing officer services (done remotely), HQS inspections, and more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.