Peoria Housing Authority (PHA) Board met electronically December 6, 2021 with all Commissioners present.
Three residents graduated from the PHA Family Self Sufficiency program. This program has allowed the three women to complete educational and financial goals, as well as, become home owners. This program can take up to five years for an individual to complete.
Minutes of November regular meeting and special meeting were approved. Reports were approved by consent agenda. Resolutions were approved to submit FY2022 Public Housing Budget, as well as, Operating Budgets for Housing Choice Voucher Program and Mainstream Voucher Budget to Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Board also voted to appoint additional board members to the Committee to select Chief Executive Officer. Board approved 3-year collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME membership.
The PHA Board of Commissioners meets the first Monday of each month electronically. Information available at www.peoriahousingauthority.com
Connie Romanus, Observer
The Board of Commissioners met for regular monthly meeting with a quorum present. Absent were Commissioners Alma Brown and Kim Furness. There were no community comments presented. New receptionist, Tenora, was introduced and welcomed. Current employee, Ernest Jackson, was promoted in the accounting department. There were no FSS graduates this month, but anticipate one in December.
Jackie Newman, Chief Executive Officer, reported on recent program she attended on “Choice Neighborhood” program. She sees this as an opportunity to begin positioning PHA and partners to pursue grant funding available for Housing Authorities with distressed properties, such as Harrison. The two-year grant would need to involve city planning, as well as other partners. A second two-year grant could be applied for, as well as other funding.
There was no update on CEO candidate search. Ms. Newman reminded the Board of the importance of employee training in available grants and other programs to position PHA for future success.
The next meeting of the Board of Commissioners of PHA will be December 6, 2021. Meeting schedule and agenda available at www.peoriahousing.org.
Connie Romanus, Observer
A quorum was present at the monthly meeting of PHA Board of Commissioners. Two topics for community concern included one resident with issue of mistaken identity affecting her status with PHA and Rhonda Sexton, union bargaining representative, regarding employee contract issues related to Taft redevelopment.
Two residents of PHA completed Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program that enables them to increase their income and reduce reliance on welfare and rental assistance. Both are in process of purchasing a home for their family.
Jackie Newman, Executive Director of PHA, gave overview of Taft redevelopment project status. The new housing development will be names Provident Pointe, with ground breaking scheduled on October 6. Reports to Board were approved by consent agenda. A resolution was approved to accept revisions to Administrative and Occupant Plan which will change eligibility to allow persons without crime record in past six months to apply for housing, as well as maintaining records of denial for review by state Criminal Justice Board.
Kadar Hefner announced selection of CEO search firm, Organizational Leadership Edge, to find applicants for PHA Executive Director position. Board approved this action. Resolution passed to approve FY2022-2026 5 Year Plan and FY 2022 Annual Agency Plan which are posted on PHA website. The 5 Year plan has 45-day public comment period.
The Board discussed current lack of Resident Councils at PHA sites and effort to promote these. Latasha Perry, Board member, cited the benefits of these to address common issues and share information with residents. Councils have rules process and elections to elect residents to individual council.
Board adjourned for closed session to discuss collective bargaining issue.
Connie Romanus, Observer
The Board of Commissioners of PHA held its regular meeting Sept. 7, with quorum present. Several members of the public attenders to express concerns regarding conditions of PHA housing family of seven scheduled to move into before end of September.
The Gardner family of seven has been assigned to Taft temporary housing and conditions of 2-unit location include mold, water damage, uncovered electrical outlets, as well as other issues. Mrs. Gardner was present in addition to Karrie Alms, Elaine Hopkins, Lawrence Maushard, and Allison Galvan.
Community members expressed concern regarding lack of communication to Gardner family regarding when unit would be available, checklist to ensure repairs completed and perceived lack of respect from PHA staff. Comments took 30 minutes of allotted time at beginning of board meeting. Mr. Maushard called for dismissal of Chairman Carl Cannon and CEO Jackie Newman.
Ms. Alms stated she had filed complaint this date with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as 2022 PHA plan was not available for review, in addition to lack of digital access to plan information.
Elaine Hopkins spoke on behalf of American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) and member of North Valley Neighborhood association regarding locked gates at Taft complex over past year. She cited incident where emergency responders were not able to respond to call due to access issues. She has requested documentation under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Chairman Cannon expressed appreciation for comments and told group issues would be addressed.
Consent agenda was approved without discussion. Resolutions approved to upgrade flooring in common areas at Sterling Towers and Taft Homes redevelopment final closing documents. A Rector and Reeder & Lofton representative gave presentation on FY 2020 financial audit. Positive review with comments for improvement in turnaround of units and how wait list managed. One finding related to financial reconciliation reporting, with operation improvement plan developed. Financial employees recognized for improvements in operations and cooperation during audit.
Note: WCBU reporter Hannah Alani interviewed Jackie Newman on September 16,= about Taft redevelopment: https://www.wcbu.org/local-news/2021-09-16/q-a-interim-peoria-housing-authority-director-jackie-newman-answers-questions-on-taft-redevelopment
——— Connie Romanus, Observer
A quorum of the Board of Commisioners of PHA was present. Jackie McGavin, Housing Voucher Specialist, was introduced as new employee. Jackie Newman, CEO reported staff continuing to complete HUD required documents to meet deadline for financing of Taft redevelopment project this month. The next phase will be demolition of existing structures prior to start of new construction of homes. PHA staff continue to meet with local building trades and training of eligible residents for project.
Chairman Cannon asked Lt. McCall, Security Chief, to report on incident that occurred near Taft location in early hours past weekend resulting in gunshots in area. Concerns expressed over coverage hours of security staff contracted by PHA, as well as proximity of liquor store nearby. Current security staff shift ends at 1:00 A.M. Lt. McCall to report back on issue.
During Community Comments, two residents of River West complex shared concerns regarding disruptive behavior of non-residents, gunshots in area and litter. Safety issues included recent incident of 15 youths walking through complex, kicking in doors, threatening behavior. They also expressed concerns about lack of lighting in area between buildings. Chairman Cannon responded that he would work with PHA staff and Security to investigate this issue and identify strategies to manage issue. Chair Cannon will also meet with new Peoria City Police Chief. CEO Newman encouraged residents to call local police for incidents.
In other business, the Board approved updates to PHA Board Policy Manual to be compliant with Illinois and Federal law regarding asking residents about income status and hours worked. Collection loss write-off of $32.172 for uncollectable rent payments. CEO Search Committee will be reviewing vendors for applicants.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at 4:30 P.M.
Connie Romanus, Observer
The Board of Commissioners of the PHA met virtually on July 6. Board meeting minutes from June 14, 2021 meeting were approved, as well as, minutes of board training meeting of April 23. The board approved a resolution to authorize and approve Taft Home Redevelopment closing documents. This was required to give CEO authority to submit these documents to keep Taft redevelopment project on target.
Chairman Cannon asked for an update from CEO Search Committee. Commissioner Heffner reported committee will be reviewing proposals from search firms and selecting firms for presentation overview to committee.
Commissioner Brown reported there were no issues from Resident and Safety Committee. July 4th holiday was uneventful and no issues reported. The regular meeting was adjourned at 4:51 P.M.
A special meeting of the PHA Development Corporation, a not-for-profit entity, was held immediately after the regular monthly meeting. Melissa Huffstedtler, Deputy Director of PHA, presented an overview of the PHADC. The corporation will meet quarterly, with special meetings as needed and will serve as a partner in the Taft redevelopment project, as well as, the purchase of vacant property for future and/or redevelopment for the PHA. By-laws were presented and approved by the board, as well as, resolutions to authorize and approve Taft conversion project and Taft rental assistance conversion project. Meeting adjourned at 5:01 PM.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be August 2, 2021 at 4:30 P.M.
Connie Romanus, Observer
Chair Cannon presided at the Board of Commissioners of the Peoria Housing Authority (PHA) Regular Meeting 6/1/20 at 4:30 PM via Zoom with all Commissioners present. There were no Community Comments. New employee, Holly Karl, Executive Assistant, was introduced.
The minutes of the May 5, 2020 meeting were approved. The Reports were approved by consent of the members, unanimously.
Jackie Newman, Chief Executive Officer, reported that while the PHA office continues to be closed to the public, the process of placing families into housing continues. Four hundred nineteen applications were processed in the past month, as well as, six hundred annual resident verifications were completed. Improvements continue to be made at properties, including replacement of gutters and gutter guards at Harrison, hydro-flushing of hydrants and sewers, improvement of boiler at Harrison, and sidewalk repair/replacement. At Taft families are being moved to central locations to facilitate caulking of windows due to water intrusion. Security camera installation at Sterling Towers is now complete. Twelve scattered units have had improvements routine maintenance improvements. PHA staff anticipate a positive score on next audit and will continue ongoing maintenance of properties.
Finance Committee met earlier in the day and Treasurer Heffner reported no issues. Resolution approved for modification of current contract with Point Services of $63,500 for complete renovation of 2411-B Starr St. due to vandal damage while vacant. Resolution approved to award professional legal services contract for evictions. Prior contract had expired; this was put out for bid.
Regular meeting was adjourned at 4:50 PM. Commissioners then went into closed session.
Connie Romanus, Observer
The PHA Board of Commissioners was conducted electronically. Chairman Cannon called the meeting to order at 4:30 PM. Commissioner William Purham was absent. Chief Executive Officer, Jackie Newman, was present. Meeting information was posted online, as well as in the Peoria Journal Star classified section.
There were no community comments. Two new employees were introduced: one for Accounts Receivable and an Assistant Asset Manager for Harrison. There were no Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) graduates. Note: minutes are posted on website.
Chief Executive Ms. Newman reported she and her staff have been on calls with regional and national HUD offices every other week to keep updated with executive orders for Covid-19. A draft transition plan for sheltering place is being developed with staff and adapting changes and procedures for safety of residents and staff. In addition, Phase 3 Individual Development Accounts IDA) application has been submitted. One example of program using IDA grants is the FSS program; low income families who qualify receive housing vouchers and training to build assets to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Chair Cannon called the meeting of the PHA Board of Commissioners to order at 4:30pm. Meeting was held electronically via Zoom with public notice of the meeting posted in the Peoria Journal Star as well as on PHA website with log in information. Meeting Agenda was available on the PHA website. Chair Cannon, Vice Chair Brown and Kadar Heffner were present in person; Helen King participated via electronically. Chairman Cannon read a statement regarding the meeting being held electronically pursuant to Executive Order 2020-07 signed by Governor Pritzker and guidance provided by Legal Counsel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There were no public comments; this observer participated via Zoom. There was one new employee introduced to the Board, Marsh Moses, who is an Assistant Manager for Sterling Towers.
Chief Executive Office, Jackie Newman, reported PHA was keeping in touch with State government, Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control, and HUD regarding Covid-19 precautions via webinars and conference calls. Weekly updates with PHA staff is being done electronically. PHA offices are currently closed to the public through April 30. Director Newman discussed steps being taken for income verification so that families are not not paying more than required if work status or hours have been reduced. She also discussed that PHA staff cannot mandate adherence to social distancing and hand washing at high rise housing facilities, such as Sterling Towers. Education on these strategies are available, as well, as sanitizing stations in common areas. Managers are available to follow up on resident concerns.
Security concerns were discussed regarding Harrison units.
Meeting held at PHA Offices. Tim Shelly, local NPR reporter was present. Board members present: Secretary, Helen King, who led the meeting, and Commissioner Kim Furness. Director Jackie Newman and Melissa Huffsteadter were present, as well.
A representative from Bear Development, the company that will construct the new housing at the Taft site, reported on the status of the project. Stake holder meetings have been held with the City of Peoria and residents of Taft. HUD has approved the initial application and the next phase is due by March 23, 2020. The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) allows for specific number of public housing units to change to federal based vouchers. 226 Units at Taft will be demolished to make way for renovation; 142 new units will be built as single and duplex style homes. The East Bluff Project is also part of this effort. Jane Genzel, Executive Director of Peoria Opportunities Foundation was in the audience and gave overview: project consists of 16 RAD properties and will build 20 single family homes and 5 duplexes; all are 2-3 bedrooms and fully applianced. Bear Development expects the timeline for approval process and funding to take to the end of 2020. This funding will include Individual Development Accounts (IDA), which provides funds to persons of low income to promote asset building and promote home ownership.
Helen King stated the Taft project has full support from the PHA Board; Peoria City Council has also given support to the project. Director Newman stated that both of these approvals give strength to the project with HUD officials.
PHA will continue to meet with stakeholders to finalize plans and keep residents updated on the project. Current residents of Taft Housing would be eligible to apply for units in the East Bluff Project under the “Resident Right to Return” or they could opt for a new unit at Taft.
The meeting ended at 12:22 p.m. Connie Romanus, Observer
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