IAHA Award Winners

2018 IAHA AWARD WINNERS

 

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.

Jerry Gille, Dennis Schumacher, Teresa Greenstreet and Joann Pink

 

Winnebago County Housing Authority Receives the IAHA 2017 Resident Relations Award

1.SUMMARY OF PROGRAM: The Winnebago Homes Association (WHA) is an affordable housing development nonprofit component of the Winnebago Housing Authority  (WCHA) which is providing a home to the Rockford Police Department (RPD) for the Police Officer Residency Program. In this program, a police officer is provided a home in a hig hcrime area o fRockford. The home is provided rent free for the Officer's residence, and in return the Officer commits to a visible and high profile community involvement. The Officer commits to a three year residency and the program has been proven to have a measurable impact in reducing crime.

2.DESCRIPTION  OF  THE  PROGRAM: The  objective  of  the  Police  Officer  Residency Program is to measurably reduce crime in a high-crime neighborhood throughtheofficer's visible residence.The clientele served  are  the  housing  authority's Housing  Choice  Voucher  residents in  the  neighborhood  and  proximity,  but  in  a  larger  sense  the  clientele  served  is  the complete  community  in  the  impact  to  crime,  and  to  all  housing  authority  residents  in the impact  the  public  relations  the program  brings  to  housing  authorities. The  housing authority's  nonprofit  component,  WHA,  purchased  the  home  through revenue  realized  from development  programs  and  rental  income  and  provided  it  free  to  the  Rockford  Police Department  forthree  years,  although  the  intention  is  to  continually  provide  the  program until  the  reduction  of  crime  is  sustained. WHA provided  the  $40,000  for  the  purchase  of the  home  and  maintains  ownership,  and  provides  the  ongoing  maintenance  costs.The Rockford  Police  Department  and  the  City  of  Rockford  provide  all  utilities. Comcast provides free  Internet,  telephone and  cable  services.

3.THE RESULTS OR SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAM: In 2016 the Winnebago County Housing Authority contacted Rockford Police Department Chief Dan O'Shea with an offer to purchase a home for an officer residency program to help impact against crime. We had experience with a similar program in the period of 1999-2002 at the Collier Garden Apartments in Rockford, where an apartment would be offered to a Winnebago County Sheriffs Deputy in return for the Deputy providing anofficer's presence with their residence, patrolling the building and grounds and meeting with residents and the resident council. The program was very successful and ended when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) required that all public housing units be returned to use for low income families.

WCHA has a nonprofit affordable housing development component, Winnebago Homes Association(WHA), which is a 501(c)3 instrumentality component of WCHA, and we presented an offer that WHA would purchase the home and provide it rent free to the Rockford Police Department for an Officer Residency Program. We discovered that Chief O'Shea had a successful Officer Residency program in Elgin, Illinois, that was also replicated in Peoria, Illinois which demonstrated a 25% reduction in neighborhood crime, and he was enthused to replicate it in Rockford.

For the Rockford program the Police Department identified a west side and an east side neighborhood boundary area for one home in each of the two areas. The target areas required the characteristics of an approximate mix of 50% homeowner occupancy and 50% rental occupancy and which has a high crime rate coupled with a statistically measured increase in crime, and proximity to churches and schools.

The goal of placing a police officer in residencein these areas would be to establish better communication between the police department and communityresidents. The resident officer would regularly provide school presentations to educate and familiarize children to be comfortable with the police, they would meet with the churches and their congregations, and they would be trained to provide residents with projects and opportunities in the area.The program officers introduce themselves door to door with the residents, have a visible presence with their squad car and the home signage with the officer's cell phone number, and are available in the neighborhood. They are expected to work a 40 hour week; however, for example, if a serious incident were to occurat night, the program officer would be expected to respond and to help calm the people in the neighborhood. The residency program also helps the Department's goal to bring officers into residence within the city.The residency officer makes a commitment of three to five years for the residency. The officer pays no rent, pays their own utilities and provides their own yardwork.

Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd worked with us to identify the home. We inspected three homes chosen by the Rockford Police Department as available for sale in the identified neighborhood, ranging in price from $44,900 to $69,900. The home at 1007 15th Street was the selection agreed upon by WHA and the Rockford Police Department as possessing the best characteristics, location, and comparable cost.

The home islocated .3 miles from Nelson Elementary School (K-5), .6 miles from Lincoln Middle School (6-8) and one mile from East High School (9-12).

The owners accepted our $40,000 offer and the closing occurred on 03/20/17. Rockford Police Officer Eric Thurmond volunteered for the program and his family moved in on 05/01/17.

4.WORTHINESS FOR AN AWARD: The program and the home have attracted the attention and support of Congresswoman Bustos, Senator Duckworth and Senator Durbin, all of which plan a visit after the officer takes residence. Both Senators are requesting updates to continue to learn how the program can continue to demonstrate success and be replicated in other communities. It was shared with the legislators that this program was only possible because of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the support they provided to that legislation.  WHA cams co-developer fees for its LIHTC new construction and redevelopment programs and ongoing return for its programs, which also involve mixed finance leverage of HOPE VI, RAD-I, RAD-II, Capital Funds, Project Based Vouchers, Public Housing, American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds, HOME and the Affordable Housing Program among others. They were made aware that government support of such programs not only brings infrastructure investment, property tax support for communities, impacts poverty and provides housing for low-income families-it also extends into such areas as helping impact against crime (such as the opioid epidemic) and creates community partnerships and builds community trust with law enforcement agencies.

The neighborhood received prior notice of the home's use and on 07/07/17 the home publicly opened with a Block Party attended by neighboring homeowners and renters, landlords, the Rockford Mayor and the County Board Chairman, City alderman  and County commissioners, church leaders, WCHA board and staff and school officials. Everyone was served food; there was a band, an ice cream truck, sports events, giveaways for children and games. Officer Thurmond had been visiting everyone in the neighborhood for over two weeks prior to the event so he could become known, and a permanent sign is in front of the house announcing it as a home for the Police Department's Officer Residency Program and displays Officer Thurmond's cell number. The inhabitants of a suspected drug home across the street moved out the day before the block party.

Alan Zais and Jerry Gille

 

Housing Authority of Joliet Receives 2017 IAHA Outstanding Achievement for Operational Excellence Award.

1.SUMMARY OF PROGRAM: In no more than 100 words, describe the program or agency, the accomplishments and how it contributed to the success of the agency.

Nomination of Outstanding Achievement for Operational Excellence to Housing Authority of Joliet.

2.DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM: Provide a description of the program including its objectives, the clientele being served, theagency’s role, and the contribution, if any, of other partners.

In 2012, numerous deficiencies in mismanagement and financial issues caused the HAJ to be designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a “troubled” Public Housing Authority. The agency serves of a total of 2,491 units that include Conventional Public Housing units and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. With transparency as to its challenges and an unwavering commitment to improvement, the Housing Authority of Joliet began the hard work of correcting those challenges and re-designing its agency to become a leader in public and affordable housing.

3.THE RESULTS OR SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAM: Provide a description of successof the program. Provide specific examples.

Since that time, the agency not only has been designated as a High Performing Agency by HUD for the past two years in a row, but it also has created two new mixed financed developments funded by private investors who purchased over 21 million dollars of Low Income Housing Tax credits. Staff morale has improved dramatically and esteem for the Agency has been restored in the community it serves.

4.WORTHINESS FOR AN AWARD: Describe why this program or agency is worthy of an award.

Moving from a Trouble Agency to a High Performing Agency and developing 21 million dollars in tax credit property are major accomplishments in and of themselves .However, perhaps the most exciting indicia of its worthiness for this award is the work being done by HAJ through its non-profitorganization – Hope Bound. Using the experience it has gained though its past challenges, HAJ now has begun to work with other housing authorities and support organizations in jurisdictions of those seeking its help. HAJ clearly recognizes, “a rising tidelifts all ships”. Their perseverance, dedication to excellence, and willingness to help others serve as a beacon for us all, and make them imminently worthy of the Illinois Association of Housing Authorities Award for Outstanding Achievement in Operational Excellence.

Michael Simelton and Jerry Gille

 

The Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb Receives Miscellaneous Award

The Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb [HACD] began its quest to find a solution to improve the quality of living for our residents. Specifically, a situation that we were commonly finding many of our residents “suffering” with, or potentially facing termination because of their inability to maintain lease compliance.

HACD works very closely with our first responders and through our communications with our first responders it became clear that HACD had a few tenants who were “super utilizers” of the EMS system. EMS frequent calls to our properties were due to health issues ranging from severe physical to severe mental health issues. One tenant had called EMS services 12 times over a 6-month period for physical health related issues. Another resident had as many as 10 police calls in two weeks for mental health issues.

Outside of the EMS or police are the residents who are on the verge of the inability to care for themselves or maintain daily living needs. This included very unsanitary living conditions due to the inability to clean both for personal hygiene and unit cleanliness which also affected their ability to comply with pest control treatment. Residents and units in poor living condition creates concern, complaints and effects overall qualify of living throughout the building. Despite staff support and outreach to social service agencies we continued to not have success, leaving our only recourse to be lease enforcement such as termination. HACD was not happy with this option and is not the right action for tenants who simply need support.

It became clear that a better solution was needed to address the “super utilizers”. HACD staff attended many community wide meetings to discuss trends and issues facing our residents. HACD already had an existing relationship with the local mental health care provider, however due to a recent switch in leadership and being acquired by another organization, they were unable meet our needs.

Because of our continued persistence to find a solution we were introduced to a neighboring community agency called Association for Individual Development [AID]. We held a meeting to discuss what services they could provide and verified with the other agencies that they worked with, on the quality of services they provide. Without having a local office to work from, we invited AID in house and provided them space in an offline unit dedicated for Resident Services. We held information sessions, passed out “get to know” flyers and more to introduce them to residents.

One by one our tenants began to see the AID Case Mangers out and about and helping their neighbors. AID would take tenants grocery shopping or to doctor appointments. They are helping tenants to declutter and clean their units along with connecting tenants with other local service agencies in town by setting up and taking them to appointments, helping them complete paperwork and even create budgets or find employment. AID is now servicing our other high-rise and has branched out to other low-income households within the greater DeKalb County area. AID now has 75+ HACD tenants as open clients. We believe AID has improved the quality of life for many tenants.

While we still have the occasional super utilizer, the ability to call upon AID to help keep clients housed and work with them to achieve a better quality of living has had an impact on the lives of our residents and truly improved our relationship with the residents. In May of 2017, HACD was honored with AID’s Outstanding Community Partner Award. (see attached magazine article).It is a relationship that created a “win-win-win”.

 

IAHA 2017 AWARDS FREEPORT HOUSING AUTHORITY FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT OF CREATIVITY AWARD

1.SUMMARY OF PROGRAM: In no more than 100 words, describe the program or agency, the accomplishments and how it contributed to the success of the agency.

The Office of Parent Engagement is a new program to encourage parent involvement in their child(ren)’s education, as well as their own personal development. In hearing concerns through the community, the Office of Parent Engagement provides a neutral meeting place for students, parents, teachers and school administrators. The Office will cause increased parent engagement, improve student education success, and increase community awareness of the need for parent engagement.

2.DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM: Provide a description of the program including its objectives, the clientele being served, the agency’s role, and the contribution, if any, of other partners.

Throughout conversations and interactions in the Freeport community, parent engagement is are occurring concern. Too often schools/teachers are blamed for not doing enough for education success, but it is truly a joint effort of parents and teachers. Parent engagement is at an all-time low. Parents were expressing concern of feeling uncomfortable coming to the school for meetings.

The Office of Parent Engagement was created to galvanize and encourage parents to be more involved with and take ownership of their child(ren)’s education, as well as personal development. The Office of Parent Engagement is serving the local community, most specifically the Freeport School District #145 that serves approximately4,200students. The Office of Parent Engagement is located in one of Freeport Housing Authority’s community building; The Office will be open four hours a day, four days a week. The space includes four office desks and chairs with laptops; these items and an outside sign were donated from a Freeport Community Foundation. The Freeport Housing Authority will provide the office space at no cost with internet accessibility. The computers will have Microsoft programs and internet to allow students to use the computers to complete homework and parents may use them to communicate with teachers/school administration and check grades, etc.

3.THE RESULTS OR SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAM: Provide a description of success of the program.

The results of the Office of Parent Engagement is that it addressed the concern and met the desired outcome, per the principals, teachers and parents, of having a meeting space that is not on the terms of the school. The Office of Parent Engagement creates and fosters parent and student engagement, academics, health and workforce needs. The Office of Parent Engagement encourages parents to be more involved and take ownership of their children’s activities, as well as their own personal development. We believe increased parent engagement will improve child(ren)’s education success and improve community awareness of the need.

4.WORTHINESS FOR AN AWARD: Describe why this program or agency is worthy of an award.

The Office of Parent Engagement provides a neutral meeting place for parents to meet with each other or with educators. The Freeport Housing Authority is worthy of an award for focusing on a community need to bring awareness to and promote parent engagement. This is really is about doing what is best for the future leaders of our community. This is yet another effort of Freeport Housing Authority improving client services by investing in the residents, both adults and youth, to be self-sufficient and successful in their lives!

 

 

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