Members Making News - February 2013

The Denver Post noted that the Denver Housing Authority's new culinary-training center, The Osage Cafe, will open in the Mariposa District on February 19. For the past six years, DHA’s Youth Culinary Academy has trained seven low-income chefs at a time in its small kitchen and provided food through catering only. The new lunch spot will offer chefs-in-training a bigger kitchen—room for 15 at a time—and provide them with the opportunity to hone their professionalism and respond to daily customer feedback. Some of the ingredients come from nearby community gardens. (Feb 13)

Families who became homeowners through the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino's homeownership program now have the opportunity to receive free solar panels on their homes through GRID Alternatives. For families who qualify, the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes Program will cover 65-100 percent of the installed cost of their electric system. To date, three homeownership program families have taken advantage of this program to save money by going green. (Feb 11)

Q for a Cause
On February 9, Eat for a Cause hosted “Q for a Cause” to benefit homeless veterans in Houston. John Mueller, a third-generation pitmaster who has appeared on the Travel Channel's No Reservations and in Texas Monthly, headlined the event, which featured all the staples of Central Texas barbecue, as well as live entertainment. All proceeds from barbecue sales will be donated to the Houston Housing Authority to help provide permanent housing for the city’s homeless veterans. (Feb 9)

A new assessment of the Charlotte Housing Authority's HCV and Public Housing programs shows compliance with HUD regulations and indicates that the quality of each program's file documentation is good. Showing tremendous improvements on areas of question raised by a 2008 report by the same firm, this assessment more closely aligns with the experiences and perceptions of community organizations and partners that have worked with CHA and the agency's residents. (Feb 8)

Community organizations, including the King County Housing Authority, Kent School District, and Kent Youth and Family Services, have forged a unique partnership to help strengthen the educational foundation for KCHA students. Their collaborative efforts aim to: expose children living in KCHA housing to early learning, encourage family engagement, and improve literacy. Data exchange among the partners will be vital to accomplishing these goals. So will family engagement, which will be increased through the establishment of the Parent and School Academy in order to improve home learning environments and serve as a forum for addressing parents’ needs and concerns. (Feb 8)

Another barrier that low-income families face when trying to find affordable housing? Fraudulent websites. The Seattle Housing Authority warns applicants that while fake sites have been appearing in Google searches for Section 8 voucher housing, applications can only be made through Seattle Housing Authority's website. The agency cautioned against providing personal and financial details to fraudulent sites, some of which attempted to scam payments from applicants by claiming they must pay for a credit check at part of the process. In addition to advising vigilance among applicants, the housing agency has contacted federal authorities and Google to try to have the fake sites taken down. (Feb 6)

As part of its Owner Excellence Program, which recognizes and rewards property owners and managers who show a high level of dedication to their property and to their Housing Choice Voucher tenants, the Chicago Housing Authority offers several benefits, including free continuing education workshops to encourage further development as property owners and managers. A workshop on January 23rd provided information about mold prevention, mold removal and the health effects of building occupants exposed to high concentrations of mold. (Feb 4)

The board of the Wallingford Housing Authority tapped Elm City Communities to manage its buildings for 90 days, starting February 1, after a Hartford-based property management company terminated their contract with the agency in late 2012. While overseeing the day-to-day operations of Wallingford’s public housing complexes, ECC will assess the WHA’s operational strengths and weaknesses. ECC has appointed a chief operating officer who will be joined by three staff members in making the assessments. (Feb 4)

Through a new video shared via Facebook and other avenues, the Chicago Housing Authority is reaching out to voucher recipients to inform them about the agency’s Mobility Counseling Program. Two participants speak about their experience relocating to Opportunity Areas—places with quality housing, good schools, and low crime—thanks to the guidance of their personal mobility counselors, who help with the leasing process and are crucial advocates with landlords in a competitive market. (Feb 1)

An unveiling ceremony was held February 1 for a mosaic mural produced by community members and installed on the exterior of the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport’s Gary Crooks Memorial Center.  Joanne and Bruce Hunter of The Art Spot designed and supervised the 5 x 18 foot mural, which more than 50 participants ranging in age from 5 to 50 helped create, including residents and members of Bassick High School’s Build On program. (Feb 1)