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Outsourcing: the foundation of success

Dorian JenkinsThe  goal of a PHA is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to its clients. In doing so, the agency must align with HUD regulations and be certain that locally administered programs are efficient and effective.

These benchmarks may prove nearly impossible for many PHAs to reach, particularly amid reduced budgets. Outsourcing is a proven progression to ensure PHAs continue to serve families and attain excellence.

The greatest challenge of outsourcing is the selection of a quality vendor who will promote cohesion within the PHA. When considering vendors, PHAs must  strategize how to best meet their own needs and the needs of their stakeholders. Ultimately, productive communication between the vendor and PHA will determine the success of the contract. All parties must fully understand their responsibilities relative to the contractual agreement and services provided.

While the challenge of vendor selection may seem daunting, it's important to remember the numerous benefits of outsourcing:

  • Opportunity for the PHA to serve as a true asset manager
  • Greater focus on customer service and professionalism
  • Industry experts regularly onsite
  • Access to industry leaders, training, and technology that otherwise would be out of reach
  • Single group accountability
  • Increased SEMAP scores
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Innovation capacity enhancement
  • Increased productivity and corporate culture of performance excellence
  • PHA can focus on big-picture strategic objectives

To determine if outsourcing is an appropriate choice for your agency, consider the following:

  • Does customer need surpass your agency's ability to meet and exceed requirements?
  • What's the total cost of the department under consideration for outsourcing?
  • What structures will your agency employ to track vendor performance?
  • Can the outsourcing relationship be reversed if/when conditions change?
  • Can the contracted vendor adapt more quickly than you can to changes in staffing/funding availability?
  • Does the department under consideration correlate with one or many "core" PHA-maintained processes?

As VP of Program Management for NMA, Dorian Jenkins currently leads NMA's Chicago team, which administers 17,000 contracts on behalf of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). His team has successfully maximized unit and budget utilization for the CHA's HCV, Mod Rehab, and PBV programs, while incorporating a customer-focused culture within the CHA.