March 2019 Print

President's Report

Dear IAHA members:

We are getting close to the start of the 2019 Maintenance and Management Clinic!  What a great time we will all have.  And in a new venue! 

We also have a Mobile App for your smart phone. This app will have the agenda, speaker information, a map of the hotel with pins showing you where training is located and a map of the vendor area. There are also pins helping you find the vendors.

The training committee has set up great training opportunities for all to take advantage of.   Where else can you send your team to training like this?  Low cost, excellent training with many opportunities to focus on one subject or catch a lot of training sessions to get background on many subjects.

The food will be great.  As with previous clinics, we have breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

We have approximately 50 vendors to meet with, many new ones again this year.   Make sure you have your team reach out to each and everyone of them.

Entertainment – of course.  Karaoke, dueling pianos and just great networking.  And of course, you need to prepare your team for the Maintenance Olympics!  Get out and show your team is the winning team.

And, many opportunities to win something.   Door prizes pulled for on Thursday night before dinner, card pulls, and whatever else we come up with.  Don’t forget to bring door prizes!  Bring as many as you can so that all can come away with something.   And your lotto tickets, bottles of libations so we can put together as many baskets as we can!

All of this for just one low registration fee of $525.  Again, where else can you get this for that?

I hope to see you all there. 

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Calendar of Events

IAHA Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars for September 25, 26 and 27th for the IAHA Annual Meeting.  This event will be held at the Holiday Inn & Suites and Rock Run Convention Center in Joliet, Il.  Keep an eye on the IAHA website for more information.

The Annual Meeting is a great time for education and networking.  It is also when we honor our peers with awards.  Take some time now to consider the many ways you and your team help your housing authority and others and consider nominating yourself or another housing authority for an award.  More information to come…



The IAHA Education Committee will be posting some upcoming education opportunities for you and your team.  Watch the website for topics, dates and locations.  If you have a suggestion or a need for something specific, please contact Deanna Mitchell at Richland County Housing Authority at [email protected] with suggestions.


Maintenance and Management Clinic 2020

It’s hard to believe that the year 2020 if fast approaching.  You’ll want to mark your calendar for the 2020 clinic, being held on April 15 to 17 and again at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

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Shop Talk

When I started at the Warren County Housing Authority in 1998, one of the things that I often questioned was the lack of check and balances from HUD to see if we were good property managers, especially focusing on the history of spending all the CIAP Program, and Modernization Program dollars.  Several months after discussing this with my Executive Director, a notice from HUD landed on my desk explaining a new program, aimed at physically following up on the money handed out to be sure HA’s are truly being responsible recipients of the federal dollars.  Inspections from the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) was certain to do just that.  I was OK with that.  At last, I thought, someone was going to personally inspect the sites and grade them accordingly.  We did not panic and planned for the visits.   

Fast forward 20 years and I would say the program has been worth most of the efforts put into it.  Scoring well is important, as it is a factor with the overall PHAS (Public Housing Assessment System) score.  The new rules in 1998 certainly got everyone’s attention and all PHAs ramped up their efforts to achieve the best score possible.  I likened it to when I was at Sears and Lowes…we knew when the district or regional hierarchy were coming, and spent extra time readying for them.  (That experience actually did me some good with this new challenge!) I always tried to convince my staff that we should strive to be “at the ready” for any inspection, with or without warning.  Not all bought into my philosophy, but most have, and we’ve performed very well.    

Overall we faired very well over the past two decades. The criteria changed quite a bit in the last 5 years or so forcing us to weigh what was important and what we could take a “hit” on.  The imperfections from the starting gate were obvious – most inspectors seem to enjoy this profitable part-time gig but actually knew very little about PHA’s, let alone building systems and all the workings.  I am certain they were never intended to be experts at everything physically related to PHA’s, and just followed the rudimentary software as instructed.  Obviously, there was very little “wiggle room” built in to the program which overruled common sense many times. We had inspectors that were harder to get along with than others, although I don’t know of any that weren’t, for the most part, fair.  They wrestled with their portable computers back in the day…losing data, replacing batteries quite frequently, and fighting to get the results uploaded.  That they were responsible for their own equipment meant many did so on the cheap.  The early software was bulky and hard to navigate.  Many of the “drop-downs” did not explain the failed item. 

We all made it this far, and now comes word of some of the biggest changes in the past 20 years.   A shorter notice to inspect (no doubt to keep people more “on their toes”), more points for the unit itself and less for outdoors, and an inspection process that gets away from the reverse-auction process.  I applaud all the potential changes that I have read about.  There will be a full day REAC class at the annual M & M Clinic this April in Springfield, and Jen and I will cover the REAC highlights during our Thursday presentation. 

I hope to meet many of you next month in Springfield.  Please introduce yourself as I forget more than I remember these days!  I always thought that if I were given 3 wishes by a genie, I would select the ability for 100% retention and recall as one of them!  Kate allowed me to “plug” my dog and pony show with the great Jen Stegall of Knox County fame on Thursday, April 11th at the Crowne Plaza.  Still an all-day offering, but condensed in many areas (especially CFP) with more time for others, like apartment turnaround and such.  Because Friday mornings of that training week sometimes turns into something but idle time for many, I am offering to host some training on the CFP with the slides I omitted from Thursday’s show.  The best way for me to explain the training from Jen and I is that we “compare notes” with our counterparts.  That is where I learn the best and the most, and hopefully we can send you back to your HA a little better prepared.  

In closing, I want to applaud all who worked on the agenda for both training tracks this year.  The agenda is easy to follow and is packed with many crucial topics packed with a great deal of pertinent information.  In a conversation I had with Derek from Knox County, he spoke to the fact that training is very expensive and putting this all together within budget is a very daunting task anymore.  How times have changed.  Many thanks to all those in planning and executing this great annual event.  Be careful out there.  You are all doing great work!


Dennis Schumacher

Assistant Administrator

Warren County Housing Authority



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