December 2018 Print

President's Report

I hope to find you all gearing up for the holidays and that you had a Happy Thanksgiving. 

IAHA has some exciting training coming up.  Please encourage your staff to take advantage of this and also, let us know what training they are looking for.  It is hard to find better training than IAHA offers at the price we offer it at.  I always encourage Executives to provide staff with as much opportunity for training as you can.  It helps not only your employees, but also your agency.

On August 25, 2018, HB5752 was passed creating the Illinois Broadband Advisory Council.  The legislation actually identified that Housing Authorities have representation on the council.  You may remember my reaching out earlier to find a representative for IAHA and I am glad to say we found an excellent candidate.  Deb Alfredson from Winnebago County Housing Authority will represent the IAHA on the council.  Deb’s experience is:

“Heads up ConnectHome USA program with HUD for WCH.  We have one of the regional ConnectHome programs and she has already done great work in creating tablet giveaways with T-Mobile and Comcast and programs with ISmart.  She works directly with the Region V office and Kim at HQ for the internet programs and has been helping with the creation of our internet utility allowance pilot with HUD and has represented us at the ConnectHome convening at the HUD HQ. 

Her work directly with residents has created the basic understanding of the needs of seniors for internet access to combat social isolation and for families to help connect with employment and education.  She also oversees our computer labs and Neighborhood Networks program.”

Thank you, Deb for volunteering to represent us on the Broadband Advisory Council.

Chris Blechle and Tim McAnarney attended the downstate hearing on Rent Control. This bill would eliminate an old State Law that would not allow rent control.  There will be more to come as things develop here. 

Another legislative item is Housing Action Illinois has reached out to IAHA members for support against the “public charge” rule being proposed.  Watch for a separate email announcement on this.

That is about it for now.  I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




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Calendar of Events

Blended Occupancy

January 15 & 16, 2019

IAHA is pleased to be partnering with Edie Kitchens and Tax Credit Assurance, Inc. for Blended Occupancy training.  This is a great opportunity for those of you with mixed occupancy projects.  

Edie has a wealth of knowledge regarding regulations around the various housing projects. 

This class was moved from November and will be held in Springfield.

You can see the agenda and register for this event at this link.



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IAHA Maintenance & Management Clinic

IAHA MMC Presents: Let The Good Times Roar

The Maintenance & Management Clinic will have a new location in 2019.  We will be at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Springfield!  The meeting dates are April 10 to 12.  There will again be two and half days of packed education, networking and a roaring good time.  Bring your flapper dress, your fedora and Let The Good Times Roar.  Our theme is the roaring 20’s.  After all the learning, you’ll enjoy relaxing with our dueling pianos.

Watch the IAHA website at for more information and registration.

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The Illinois Association of Housing Authorities has a strong tradition of outstanding members.  One way that the association showcases our members is by presenting them with a variety of awards. 

Deanna Mitchell with Richland County Housing Authority Receives the 2018 IAHA David W. Morgan Menorial Award.

Montgomery County Housing Authority Receives the 2018 IAHA Operational Excellence Award.

Springfield Housing Authority Receives the 2018 IAHA Miscellanous Achievement Award.

Springfield Housing Authority Receives the IAHA 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award In Resident Relations.

Lake County Housing Authority Receives the 2018 IAHA Outstanding Achievement for Creativity Award.

To read the award nominations, click here.

Congratulations to our awesome members!

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Shop Talk

A few thoughts as we close out another year of all the challenges we have in common.  2018 marked my 20th year at WCHA, 40 years of marriage (what was I thinking!) and turned 62 years old.  It’s a wonder I am still standing!

In what I call the gift that keeps on giving, we at WCHA continue to reap the benefits of the incentives from our gas and electric provider, Ameren Illinois.  I am very fortunate that I have an Ameren Ally that lives in Monmouth who is a 2nd generation electrician, and gets about as excited as I do concerning lighting upgrades and saving money.  Several months ago we signed a contract with my ally to upgrade the lighting in the community room, elevators, trash chute rooms, public bathrooms, and office at our four story apartment building.  It totaled about $3,000, with $2,500 going to our ally and our cost about $600.  That’s right…through the incentive program, we were responsible for only $600 of a $3,000 upgrade.  The “icing on the cake” is that the payback period is only 21 months.  So, in saving the best for last, I asked him to assesss the maintenance shop and boiler room at our 5-story apartment building, constructed in 1969.  I knew the numbers would look good again for us because the boiler room still has the old “mogul” based, 200 watt incandescent bulbs.  This contract was also close to $3,000, but our part will be only about $500 dollars with a payback period of 11 MONTHS OR LESS!!  My ally also does all the paperwork for both of us, so that is worthy of a shout-out, too!  I hope your HA is on board with these incentives.  They have changed a lot over the years.  Initially the criteria was replacing old stuff with new stuff based on the per-unit incentive amount.  It is now more what I call “scientific”, meaning KWH’s and BTU’s are used to determine incentive amounts, something I gladly leave to my ally.  Allies are listed on the website for all utility companies, including Norco, which handles most of everything north of I80.

Unit turnaround is a huge part of PHA’s day-to-day operation and we all have a different approach on how to quickly, yet effectively, turn an empty so someone else can have a roof over their head.  I have been approached by the IAHA committee to include, or put together, a presentation on unit turnaround, but I am not sure what direction to go in.  My initial thought would be to include a few maintenance personnel that have done this for many years, and someone you think knows what they are talking about and would be willing to address a small group of people.  My annual presentation at Decatur with Jen Stegall from Knox County is very interactive, the best kind of training for me.  Speed is important, but should not compromise the quality of getting an apartment ready to rent.  I have heard a few ED’s comment on how long it takes for their staff to “make-ready” an apartment, but I also remember a neighboring HA tell me that if they had to, they could turn one in a day.  WOW!  Please share any and all thoughts you have on this.  I like the idea, but not sure how to make it interesting and not somewhat insulting to our “seasoned” maintenance folks.  The class should be short, I am guessing, offered a couple times maybe, with several employees representing the Land of Lincoln.  Your thoughts, PLEASE, to

New technology allows a smartphone to capture video and audio surveillance with a small, almost unrecognizable camera with amazing quality.  The problem with such, is that neighboring tenants are starting to complain.  I spent a lengthy amount of time researching the impact and legality or such and am back to square one.  I have learned quite a bit, though, and will share a few things with you in the next newsletter.    

Well, here’s wishing you and your family the very best this holiday season. 

Dennis Schumacher

Warren County Housing Authority

Monmouth, IL  

(309) 734-2080

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Well...isn't that interesting....

Facebook for Office and Maintenance

One of the benefits to membership in IAHA is being able to ask for opinions of others in the same position.  The housing authorities often see the same or similar situations and it’s nice to have someone to reach out to with questions.  Deanna Mitchell with Richland County HA has created two Facebook pages for IAHA.  One is for Executive Directors and office staff, and the other for Maintenance. They are named Illinois Association of Housing Authorities and Illinois Association of Housing Authorities Maintenance Staff.

As your staff requests access to the page, they are asked to list the housing authority they work for.  If you know of staff that has access to the Facebook pages and they’ve left your housing authority, please contact Deanna at and she can remove their access to the site.

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