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Teresa Greenstreet of Warren County Housing Authority Receives the 2017 IAHA David W. Morgan Memorial Award

 

Teresa Greenstreet with Warren County Housing Authority Receives the 2017 IAHA David W. Morgan Memorial Award.

Teresa Greenstreet began her employment at Warren County Housing Authority, WCHA, in October 1978, occupying every office from secretary/receptionist to that of Executive Director. Teresa was elevated to the position of Executive Director in the spring of 1998.

Challenges always surround Executive Directors, but Teresa faced an even larger uphill battle as she watched occupancy rates plummet following the departure of many foreign workers at Farmland Foods in Monmouth who called Lincoln Homes, the PHA’s family site in Monmouth, home. The mass exodus, combined with the rough reputation the Housing Authority site was trying to overcome since its inception in 1970 seemed insurmountable. As many as 40 to 45 of the 80 units were not only abruptly empty, but dirty, and needed a complete turnaround for re-rent. The occupancy rate at the remote site in Roseville fell below 50%, with some units empty for years.  An 8-unit site in Kirkwood, IL was never full and in need of repair. And to add to her fate, 2 months after taking the reins as Executive Director, Teresa was introduced to a new HUD plan called REAC. Yes, HUD is actually going to come to your PHA, inspect and grade the site visit, upon which your future funding will depend. The situation was grim.

Knowing the only way to pull things together was to get organized and get involved, both of which Teresa did and did well. Leading by example, it was all hands-on board at Lincoln Homes…cleaning, painting, and repairing until they were all considered ready to rent. REAC scored Warren County Housing Authority at 98%, its first of six consecutive designations in the high performer category. Teresa, in an effort to bring stability and the towns respect back to 800 South 9th Street in Monmouth, worked in tandem with the occupancy manager, and tore into the application and recertification processes, updating any and all language, and strictly enforcing the existing rules and regulations, some of which ended in evictions.  Setting her sights on Roseland Homes and Kirkland Homes, Teresa spearheaded the direction of the Modernization Program, now known as the Capital Fund Program, towards the improvement and marketability of those two locations, replacing lighting, driveways, sidewalks, adding playgrounds and storage sheds. It didn’t happen overnight, but it all started to work. Apartments began to fill with people who were once afraid of those very some properties. Headstart located a facility at Lincoln Homes, an after-school program began at Lincoln Homes, a summer feeding program for kids began at Lincoln Homes, and about the only thing missing is the office once occupied by the Monmouth Police Department, because it is no longer needed.  Teresa once told me (Dennis Schumacher) about 10 years ago, that if there were drugs or guns in Lincoln Homes, she didn’t know about it. What a bold, but accurate statement, something not many of her statewide counterparts could say.

Her office habits are the same. Get to work early, be the last one to leave but always be ready to help the staff who can’t work through something. Everyone came out of a meeting with Teresa with options on whatever the situation required.  That included her Executive Director counterparts throughout the state, who after time, realized who to go to for an opinion, or help. Our auditor lauded her in private and public before our Board of Commissioners, who were assured each year that the books were in order and there is more money in the bank than before. Her audits, per Andy Zenk, of Zenk and Associates, were the gold standard.

Sometimes Teresa and I didn’t see eye to eye. She is a bit of a tree hugger, I like sharpened chain saws She likes to watch the reserves grow, I like to spend money. She takes the stairs, I take the elevator. Those differences worked well, thought, as we always had good conversation and thought prior to decision-making.

Every staff member respected Teresa and enjoyed her company, as did her fellow administrative and maintenance staffs throughout Illinois.  In October, Teresa will celebrate her 39th year on staff at Warren County Housing. She has a habit of making things last as she just celebrated her 45th wedding anniversary.

 

Teresa and Denny

Jerry Gille, Dennis Schumacher, Teresa Greenstreet and Joann Pink

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PO Box 4486 | Springfield, IL 62708 | 312.239.3625
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