|HUD No. KY11-001
February 9, 2011
HUD HONORS HOUSING AGENCIES FOR SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE
Five agencies receive prestigious recognition at annual Kentucky Housing Association Conference
LOUISVILLE - The Kentucky Field Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented awards for excellence in management to several housing agencies at the Kentucky Housing Association (KHA) Conference held February 9-11, 2011, in Lexington. The awardees are selected and recognized annually by the Office of Public Housing within the Kentucky office.
This year, the Office of Public Housing recognized superior program administration by presenting awards for Small PHA of the Year for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) managing less than 100 units; Mid Size PHA of the Year for PHAs managing 100 to 249 units; Large PHA of the Year for PHAs managing 250 or more units; and, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Agency of the Year. Additionally, the Housing of Ashland received the inaugural Director's Award for exemplary service. These awardees contribute greatly to the achievement of the Office of Public Housing's annual goals and HUD's long-range strategic plan.
"These awards recognize the agencies for their performance. In the end it is really the families they serve that win as they are provided hope through affordable, safe and secure housing options. Indeed it is a win-win for everyone." said, Krista Mills, HUD Field Office Director for Kentucky.
One hundred and four PHAs compete for the public housing awards and forty-one HCV agencies compete for the rental assistance award. To be considered for the awards, the competing organizations must excel at property, financial, and occupancy management.
This year's award winners in each category included (see summary descriptions below):
- Large PHA of the Year - The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority
- Mid Size PHA of the Year - The Housing Authority of Dawson Springs
- Small PHA of the Year - The Housing Authority of Central City
- HCV Agency of the Year - The Housing Authority of Cynthiana
- Director's Award - The Housing Authority of Ashland
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.
Large PHA of the Year - The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority
This central Kentucky PHA is the second largest PHA in Kentucky and has been in existence since 1934. With an annual budget of approximately $25 million dollars, this 1,484-public housing unit and 2,555-unit HCV program PHA has both Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) high performance designations. A hallmark of the PHAS designation is the PHA's receipt of a score of 29 out of 30 points
on its most recent physical inspection. This PHA is also nearing completion of a second HOPE VI grant at the city's oldest and largest public housing site - Bluegrass-Aspendale. This $20 million HUD grant was leveraged to over $80 million and revitalized a site that once held 963 apartments. Six phases of development have replaced the old composition and the new development is now comprised of 292 apartments and the Equestrian View subdivision of
102 homes available for homeownership. The site also includes a $14 million elementary school. Of note is this site's unmatched beauty in design and the PHA's ability to lease 176 of the available apartments within 60 days of completion.
The PHA has been recognized by other entities as award-winning: the Small Business of the Year (Nonprofit) in 2010, by Commerce Lexington, and the Environmental Award in 2010 by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for an agency-wide recycling program. In addition, the PHA's Executive Director was awarded the Community
Achiever of the Year in 2010 by the YMCA Black Achievers program and the Downtown Lexington Corporation Perfect Partner in 2010.
Mid Size PHA of the Year - The Housing Authority of Dawson Springs
This mid size PHA has been designated as a high performer under PHAS which indicates they are meeting their own and HUD's high standards and goals. In fact, the PHA scored a near-perfect score on its most recent physical inspection capping a concerted long-term effort to improve the quality of the housing stock. With an annual budget
of approximately $500,000, the PHA manages 150 units of public housing while maintaining an average vacancy rate
of less than one percent. The PHA utilized its American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds of approximately $290,000 in less than 15 months for work activities to save on extensively on energy costs and consumption. The team-driven staff works diligently to ensure the delivery of quality services to its residents. This desire has resulted in many community relationships to help link residents to health and human services programs such as: Pennyrile Allied Community Services for senior services; Caretenders for health assessments and therapy programs; and Madisonville Community College for General Education Development (GED) classes. This PHA has also been recognized as award-winning by Madisonville Community College for the implementation of the GED program through the Champion for Education award.
Small Public Housing Authority of the Year - The Housing Authority of Central City
This efficiently and effectively run PHA recently received its PHAS score and posted a physical score of 29 out of 30 points. Its annual budget of approximately $225,000 has helped maintain facilities that are affordable as well as beautiful with curb appeal that allows residents to be proud to call this PHA “home.” Our most recent review of occupancy validated a 100% occupancy rate and no resident complaints. These accomplishments are as a result of hard work by the PHA staff and it's Board who endeavor to keep their residents safe and well-housed.
The PHA obligates and expends 100% its annual modernization funding, including ARRA, on average in less than 12 months. They are the recipient of one of 11 ARRA competitive grants in Kentucky which has been completely obligated and expended on work activities focusing on energy-efficiency and reduction of energy costs to the PHA and residents. They were the first to complete their competitive grant work activities.
HCV Program of the Year - The Housing Authority of Cynthiana
When determining the winner of this year's award, we looked for sustained achievement and high performer excellence. In looking back over the last 5 years, this PHA maintained a SEMAP High Performer rating along with a PHAS High Performer rating for the public housing program. They have been a leader in assuring the highest utilization possible of their approximate annual budget of $700,000 to ensure 174 eligible families are housed in their community. Their homeownership program has celebrated two closings for families realizing the American Dream and they run a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program unrivaled in its accomplishments with 38 graduates and continued program implementation well after HUD's mandatory requirement that they continue. Their work in the FSS area clearly illustrates their commitment to helping residents build not only immediate financial assets but increasing the tools available to sustain life-long self-sufficiency. Twenty-nine families are currently participating and the PHA encourages family members to apply for KHA scholarship funds in order to start or continue their college education.
Director's Award - The Housing Authority of Ashland
This PHA is the recipient of the first Director's Award for superior service in a specific area. The award goes to a PHA that has embraced one of our three highest priorities - increased public housing occupancy. This recently PHAS troubled PHA has elevated their designation to a Standard Performer and is poised to become a High Performer within the next assessment period. They have overcome deficits in major areas such as physical, financial, and management by:
- Eliminating over $150,000 in excessive costs from the budget.
- Increasing the number of accessible apartments in their high-rise buildings.
- Adding much needed security measures which reduced crime and increased security for residents and staff. In fact, the PHA facilitated the arrest of 50 individuals involved in drug-related crimes on PHA property.
- Increasing occupancy of public housing units at its two projects. Approximately 100 vacant units have been turned around and leased in the last 12-24 months. This equates to an increased occupancy rate from 73% to 96%. Some units are now occupied that had been vacant for many years and unit improvements have been completed to meet the needs of the current waiting list. The PHA, more than any other in Kentucky, utilized their ARRA funds to tackle the high vacancy rate which met Congress' priority intent in the use of the stimulus dollars.
After the hiring of new management and the creation of a new partnership between this management team and the Board of Commissioners, improvements were dramatic. The Executive Director was recognized by HUD and his peers
as a problem-solver. This PHA is his second where he has resolved physical, financial, and management issues to erase the PHAS Troubled designations and put the PHAs on the path to High Performers. He has an unwavering commitment to his residents, the PHAs, and the communities in which he has worked and continues to work.