Members Making News - November 2012

The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino was awarded $3.2 Million in Homeless Assistance Grant funding to continue its ongoing efforts to provide permanent stable housing for chronically homeless families and individuals. (Nov 29)

Smart Growth Awards
The EPA recognized Denver Housing Authority's Mariposa District as one of seven 2012 Best Smart Growth Projects, selected for its “community-oriented master plan [that] strengthens a transit-accessible, diverse Denver neighborhood through the construction of affordable housing, health improvements, and services for residents.” (Nov 28)

As part of a public health initiative to promote bike use and increased physical activity, the St. Paul Public Housing Agency partnered with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health and the nonprofit Free Bikes 4 Kidz to deliver free bikes, helmets and bike locks to 177 children in public housing communities in late November. (Nov 28)

As of December 1, all of King County Housing Authority properties became smoke-free. This policy aims to protect non-smokers, especially children, the frail elderly, and those with asthma, from breathing second-hand smoke. A 2011 survey of residents found 88 percent wanted to live in smoke-free housing. Smoking cessation resources will be available to smokers wanting help to quit. (Nov 28)

Earning a SEMAP score of 93, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso’s Housing Choice Voucher Program was rated a High Performer by HUD for the third consecutive year. (Nov 26)

San Bernardino Thanksgiving
Providing another reason to celebrate Thanksgiving, San Bernardino native Arthur Davis and his family gave 300 vouchers totaling nearly $5,000 to families residing at Housing Authority of San Bernardino County’s Waterman Gardens and Maplewood Homes Community. Shareece Wright, a cornerback with the San Diego Chargers, returned to his childhood community to help families in need by donating turkeys to all the residents at Colton Housing Community and to the Luque Community Center.  (Nov 23)


San Diego Emergency Winter Shelter
The City of San Diego’s Downtown Emergency Winter Shelter opened on November 21, just in time to provide 220 homeless men and women with a place to sleep for Thanksgiving (and for the rest of the winter). For the third year in a row, the San Diego Housing Commission will administer the program, which also offers health care, mental health and substance abuse counseling. UnitedHealthcare donated $250,000 to the Housing Commission to support this year’s operation. (Nov 23)

Because of the agency’s strong presence in the community, a syndicator in Toledo, OH has asked the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority to take over 83 single-family, tax-credit homes in three developments to help manage the properties and reduce the high rate of vacancy that is blighting several neighborhoods. LMHA leadership stated in late November that they will consider acquiring the homes only if the deal is financially feasible. (Nov 23)

Announcing Plans to House Houston's Homeless
Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston Housing Authority announced details of plan to add 1,000 units of permanent housing for Houston’s homeless population within the next two years through $100 million in Project-Based Vouchers. This new commitment, which targets the agency’s existing vouchers to the homeless before drawing from the general waitlist, includes supportive services and will also create approximately 1,000 jobs per year for the next three years. (Nov 21)

For its $300 million makeover of Yesler Terrace, a project of unprecedented scope and scale in the country, the Seattle Housing Authority shortlisted two firms in late November: Vulcan Real Estate with Capitol Hill Housing, and Forest City with Jonathan Rose Companies. Interviews will be held in December, and the agency hopes to sign a contract next year. (Nov 20)
Yesler Terrace Steam Plant
The city has approved the Seattle Housing Authority’s plan to convert the Yesler Terrace Steam Plant, a Seattle historic landmark, into a community center with early childhood education and adult training facilities. (Nov 19)

More than 100 community leaders gathered for the grand opening of the Fresno Housing Authority’s Renaissance at Santa Clara, a new, $11 million gated complex south of downtown that will provide permanent housing to Fresno’s chronically homeless. The 70 units in this public-private venture are furnished and stocked, and they should be occupied by the month’s end. Three years in the making, complex is part of a wide-ranging, housing-first initiative called the 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. (Nov 19)

The Brian Lehrer Show, a video news program on CUNY-TV in New York, recently covered the New York City Housing Authority in one segment in which historian and writer Nicholas Dagen Bloom discusses the history of public housing in the city. (Public housing begins at 31.05.) (Nov 14)

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has partnered with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to develop the Empowering Choice Housing program, a first in the nation program to provide safe housing for women and children in the state who have suffered from domestic violence. Funding for this innovation comes from the Governor’s budget and from AHFC’s MTW program. (Nov 12)

Media coverage over the past month has highlighted the disproportionate impact that Superstorm Sandy had on low-income, vulnerable populations—including residents of public housing—who could least afford the devastation inflicted along the eastern seaboard. Despite round-the-clock efforts before and since the storm to protect and assist residents, housing authorities faced scrutiny for a perceived lack of urgency and attention. In a November 12 letter to the editor published in The New York Times, the city’s Deputy Mayor responded to such criticism by commending the efforts of New York City Housing Authority officials and workers to place public housing residents at the heart of recovery work. (Nov 12)

In early November, Boston officials and education leaders broke ground on a $16 million, 20,000-square-foot, energy-efficient early learning center at the Bromley-Heath housing development. Developed by nonprofit Associated Early Care and Education in conjunction with the Boston Housing Authority, the Center aims to teach children, their parents, and other members of their community in the same space, incorporating the latest research on creative curriculum and teaching methods. (Nov 8)

The Daily Journal of Commerce selected the Educare Early Learning Center at White Center (article access requires subscription) in King County, WA as its November Project of the Month. As part of the Greenbridge development, the King County Housing Authority donated the land and some New Market Tax Credit financing for this new early childhood education center within the mixed-income community. (Nov 7)

A November 4 article in The Washington Post describes the impact that insufficient supply of affordable housing has on the DC Housing Authority’s waiting lists and on the District’s residents, for whom the estimated wait ranges from 22 to 43 years. (Nov 4)

The Buffalo News’s coverage of a Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority annual meeting in early November noted major accomplishments over the past year, including: progress on a long-stalled project to demolish vacant towers, opening of a Planning and Information Center to engage residents in the planning of a Choice Neighborhood project, near completion of a CNI implementation proposal, installation of 235 surveillance cameras at various properties, and upgrades to several developments using ARRA funds. (Nov 2) 

On November 1, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency held a grand-opening ceremony to celebrate the two-year, $20 million makeover of the former Riverview apartments, renamed Edge Water Apartments. The seriously deteriorated senior housing project built in the 1970s was in desperate need of the top-to-bottom remodeling carried out with ARRA funds. (Nov 1)