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HUD announces new action plan to create smoke-free housing

Posted by BEMuser on Oct 22, 2014 12:52:24 PM

HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has published a new 100-page action guide on establishing smoke-free public housing and multifamily properties. The authors provide the following summary:

HUD has encouraged the adoption of smoke-free policies for the past several years. In 2009 and 2012, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing issued Notices PIH 2009-21 and PIH 2012-25, stating that HUD “strongly encourages PHAs to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units.”

In September 2010, HUD’s Office of Housing issued a notice for owners/agents of federally subsidized private housing (later reissued as H 2012-22) encouraging the adoption of smoke-free policies in some or all of their properties. In 2012, HUD sent a smoke-free housing toolkit with background information and sample planning documents for implementation to directors of approximately 2,200 PHAs.

A major reason that HUD is committed to encouraging PHAs and property owners/agents of subsidized or market rate multifamily housing to implement smoke-free policies is that the movement of secondhand smoke between units cannot be controlled in multifamily buildings. Research has shown that ventilation and other air filtration technologies cannot eliminate the health risks caused by secondhand smoke exposure. HUD also supports smoke-free policies because they reduce property maintenance costs and the risk of fires.

One quarter of U.S. residents—approximately 79 million people—live in multifamily properties. This includes one-family houses attached to one or more other houses and buildings with two to 50 or more apartments. Even though the majority of people do not allow smoking in their homes, 36 percent regularly are exposed to secondhand smoke.

In the past 15 years, more than 500 PHAs throughout the nation have adopted and implemented smoke-free policies. The rate of adoption of smoke-free policies accelerated quickly following the publication of an official notice by HUD that strongly encouraged PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies. Also, a growing number of nationwide property management firms are going smoke-free across all properties.

The action guide is divided into five sections that cover reasons to adopt a smoke-free policy, real-life examples of smoke-free policies, recommended steps, and frequently asked questions. You'll find the guide on this page at the HUD website along with smoke-free toolkits for PHAs and residents.

Topics: indoor air quality, maintenance

New NMA conference sessions and one-on-one consulting

Posted by NMA on Aug 29, 2013 3:32:22 PM

One week left to register for the 2013 NMA Housing Conference and GoSection8 User Conference! New track sessions and signups for one-on-one consulting have just been announced. To read the full list of sessions, go here.

Executive Leadership for Performance Excellence

Don't Waste Strategy Time on Goal Setting!
Presenter, Eric Kaufmann, President, Sagatica LLC

Most strategy sessions are merely operational — a missed leadership opportunity. Eric Kaufmann guides leadership teams across the country and coaches corporate CEOs. He will present the way to prepare a strategic action plan that becomes a useful resource to accomplish your agency’s goals within limited funding. You will discover the six deadly mistakes of strategy planning. Ask the right questions, set the right measurements, and get to work!

Regulatory Knowledge for Smart Management

Why Your Agency Should Be Taking a Second Look at RAD
Presenter, Carrol Vaughan

The RAD demonstration program is a unique opportunity for housing authorities to convert their at-risk public housing to long-term Section 8 rental assistance contracts. In this session, we’ll cover the latest information on the program and discuss why your housing authority should take a serious look at whether RAD would work for your agency. We’ll also hear from staff at a large housing authority on why their agency is considering submitting an application, and review the thought process involved in making the decision to apply.

Fair Housing/Civil Rights Reviews: Are You Prepared?
Presenter, Annie Stevenson

Using HUD’s civil rights review checklist, we’ll discuss fair housing requirements for the public housing and HCV programs. Topics will include limited English proficiency (LEP), reasonable accommodations, alternative communication methods, and more. Don’t miss this opportunity to prepare for civil rights monitoring.

Free One-on-One NMA Consulting

Reserve your free session with an NMA industry expert! These consulting sessions are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In fact, some are already full, so we encourage you to sign up now.

Nan McKayNan McKay, President and Founder
Expertise: HCV program management






John McKayJohn McKay, CEO
Expertise: Performance management, applying Baldrige principles to affordable housing






Carrol VaughanCarrol Vaughan, VP of Professional Services
Expertise: Procurement, organizational development






Dorian JenkinsDorian Jenkins, VP of Program Management
Expertise: HCV program, public housing leasing, tenant relations, rent collection, REAC prep, cost controls





Cydney JonesCydney Jones, Director of Program Management
Expertise: General HCV topics and issues






Sheryl PutnamSheryl Putnam, Professional Development Manager
Expertise: LIHTC compliance, HOME, PBRA






Samantha PratterSamantha Pratter, Writing Supervisor
Expertise: HCV and public housing eligibility, occupancy, and rent calculation






Annie StevensonAnnie Stevenson, Senior Trainer
Expertise: Fair housing, hearings, EIV, general HCV and public housing topics






Terry ProvanceTerry Provance, Senior Trainer
Expertise: Fair housing, PHAS, public housing property management, general asset management issues





Sammie SzaboSammie Szabo, Associate Trainer
Expertise: General HCV and public housing, PBV, blended occupancy






Jay OrtenzoJay Ortenzo, Property Services Manager
Expertise: HCV inspections and standards, public housing maintenance management






Teri RobertsonTeri Robertson, Senior Consultant
Expertise: SEMAP, quality control, HCV program utilization






Betty TurnerBetty Turner, Senior Associate Trainer
Expertise: Transition to asset management, supervision, working with commissioners






Please note that you must be a registered conference attendee or new registrant in order to take advantage of free consulting sessions. Non-registrants without an accompanying registration are not eligible. Register online or email sales@nanmckay.com for more information. Winners of the 2013 NMA Housing Awards will be announced at the conference — don't miss it!

Topics: asset management, blended occupancy, commissioners, EIV, eligibility, executive management, fair housing, HCV utilization, hearing officer, HQS, inspections, LIHTC, maintenance, NMA Housing Awards, occupancy, PBRA, PBV, PHAS, program management, quality control, RAD, rent calculation, SEMAP, supervision, The Housing Conference

Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #19

Posted by NMA on May 13, 2013 2:40:08 PM

Cara Gillette

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 #19: Limit liability.

Losing a lawsuit is a way to lose big money. Avoid getting hit with a voluntary compliance agreement (VCA), which can be extremely time-consuming and expensive.

Make sure your reasonable accommodation processes, forms, and policies are compliant, understandable, understood by staff, and communicated to applicants and residents. If your PHA has 15 employees or more, you're required to have a 504 coordinator, although of course in smaller PHAs that function may be fulfilled by the executive director or other manager. Track your reasonable accommodation requests, and have a final approval process for any denial of a reasonable accommodation.

Be proactive and vigilant about other fair housing issues. Take another look at your LEP plan for competent interpretation and written translation of key documents (or key portions of key documents). Make sure you're not prohibiting children in your elderly/disabled developments — the eligibility requirement is that the head of house, spouse, or cohead are 62 years or older or meet the HUD definition of disabled. Nothing allows you to prohibit children in public housing.

Be sure that you're implementing Section 3 requirements in your procurement processes. FHEO is monitoring this, a sure sign that HUD is serious about it. We've seen PHAs, counties, and even states put under VCAs for lack of fully implementing Section 3.

Lastly, never skip any steps when it comes to safety. Onsite staff as well as maintenance technicians should note anything with the potential to become unsafe, and a work order should be issued. Train staff to keep their eyes out for potential safety hazards when walking the grounds and common areas. Staff, as well as maintenance, should understand what a health and safety deficiency is under the uniform physical condition standards (UPCS).

Next: Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #20

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 sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: budget cuts, fair housing, LEP, maintenance, reasonable accommodation, Section 3, seniors and elderly, sequestration, UPCS

Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #13

Posted by NMA on May 2, 2013 10:08:46 AM

Cara GilletteWhile 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 #13: Look at your maintenance costs.

Maintenance salaries and benefits are always a big cost in public housing. If your PHA is large and your maintenance staff is still centralized, take another look at the costs as mentioned in Tip #11.

Also, if you have centralized maintenance, chances are good that your PHA is spending too much on vehicles and gas. You want to keep onsite staff onsite as much as possible and reduce driving time. Many PHAs are switching to maintenance tractor carts, which are like heavy-duty golf carts, with great reviews — keeps the maintenance staff onsite, and cuts way down on gas.

Some other points to keep in mind:

  • Preventative maintenance can be costly to implement, but it will save you money in the long run and prevent those constant trips to the central warehouse or hardware store.
  • Take an honest look at overtime. You may need to just show up a few times on Saturday and see how busy folks are. As with all staff, managing to clear expectations and performance standards is key to productivity.
  • Finally, be fair to your maintenance staff. Their work is essential to keeping the properties decent, safe, sanitary, and in good repair.

Next: Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #14

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 sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: budget cuts, maintenance, sequestration

Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #11

Posted by NMA on Apr 30, 2013 12:45:50 PM

Cara GilletteAs we know, public housing funding for April is at a 73% proration level. HUD plans to issue a second funding to bring the April proration level up to 79%.

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 #11: Keep central office costs within budget.

Look closely at all the centralized functions the Central Office Cost Center (COCC) is performing. Are there centralized services that aren't cost-effective and can be eliminated? Do you really need an HR function, an in-house attorney, and other specialized staff, or would it be more cost-effective to secure those services from an outside vendor as needed?

Do executives and managers need secretarial staff? Many companies these days no longer supply such staff to executives and managers in light of computers and other automated systems to provide support. Reducing central staff that isn't fully utilized can reduce not only salary and benefit costs, but also other office support costs such as cell phones, office supplies, etc.

If the COCC is offering centralized specialized maintenance services to its properties, is the COCC at least breaking even on the cost of providing these services? Do you even fully know the complete cost of these services so that you can determine whether they are cost-effective?

Does the COCC really need this much office space? Could it be reduced? If your PHA is leasing its space, you may be able to reduce rent expense. Even if you own the building, a reduction in office space would reduce utility, janitorial, insurance, and maintenance costs.

Next: Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #12

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 sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: budget cuts, maintenance, outsourcing, sequestration, utilities

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