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HUD Customer Satisfaction Report

Chapter 6 - Public and Indianhousing

"Transforming Public Housing Into Communities of Opportunity"

  • Creating a Dynamic of Self-Sufficiency
  • Converting Public Housing to Private Ownership
  • Expanding the Supply of Affordable Housing

We Are Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Currently, the Office of Public and Indian Housing makes use of various methods to measure its customer satisfaction. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Obtaining feedback through annual non-mandatory survey instruments from our client groups (i.e., Public Indian Housing Authorities/Agencies);

  • Written feedback from participation in industry conferences and group meetings;

  • Responses to various reports issued by PIH to clients and other interested groups; and

  • Gauging the level of effort in providing guidance and technical assistance to customers, and as appropriate, clients of our customers.

Our Customer Service Standards Are About The Things
That Matter Most to Our Customers

PIH customer service standards were developed in coordination with field staff and in consultation with our customers and partners. These standards are as follows:

  • PIH offices should be open to the public and available to do business during conventional work hours as that concept is defined locally.

  • Any PIH staff person receiving an incoming inquiry � by telephone, letter, or personal contact � "owns" that inquiry until the substance of the inquiry has been conveyed to the office or individual responsible for a substantive response.

  • During business hours, customers inquiring in person should wait no more than two minutes to be greeted and given an idea of when a technical person will be available to respond.

  • During business hours, all telephone calls should be answered by a person within three rings.

  • To the maximum extent possible, PIH field offices and headquarters offices will have a live person responsible for answering the telephone, promptly, every minute of the business day, including "flex-time" hours.

  • Each office will establish a procedure whereby the principal receptionist or other telephone-answerer has a regular backup, and a mechanism by which the regular lets the backup know that he or she is "on call."

  • Messages left by phone or in person should be returned by the time promised by the message taker or within a half-day of the respondent�s return to the office. PIH continues to consider these standards to be those which matter most to its customers.

They address key issues of timely, respectful and responsive service to PIH�s customers. For example, any customer who calls a PIH office is assured a response by the person who first answers the phone and is not put through a bureaucratic maze.

Results Are Reported to Our Customers

Through an annual reporting mechanism, PIH, along with other programs within an office, reports to its customers and other interested parties, activities undertaken during a given fiscal year. This information generally reports on funding provided, custo mers served and issues of interest to our customers.

Changes Made/Changes Planned

Changes Made
As a result of customer feedback and input, a more proactive approach has been undertaken to respond to customer needs. This has resulted in the creation of more "partnering" between field office staff, industry groups and specific customers (e.g., small Public Housing Authorities (PHAs)). In addition, in many instances, PIH has modified its approach in providing guidance and technical assistance to customers.

Changes Planned
To better measure customer satisfaction, PIH has establish a specific "chat-room" on the Internet to obtain feedback on just how we are doing and suggestions on how we can improve our delivery of services. In addition, the newly created "Guestbook" will b e used as a vehicle where the general public can raise questions and make comments about our programs and services.

Another activity involves the development of a "resident survey" (indirect customer) to measure the level of satisfaction and resident perceptions of just how well our Public Housing customers are delivering services.

The results of these surveys will further enhance our abilities to provide guidance and technical assistance to PHAs.

Success Stories

Through the use of the Internet, PIH now publishes nationwide "best practices" information for use by other PHAs and industry group members.
  • Office of Public and Indian Housing Sponsors Public Housing Summit. PIH, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary, sponsored a Public Housing Summit for the purpose of sharing information on the state of public housing. Guest speakers included the Vice President, industry representative and public housing staff.

  • Texas State Office Public Housing Staff Member Wins Outstanding Public Service Award from the Dallas/ Fort Worth Federal Executive Board for His Work with the Ticknor Terrace Residents. Steve Brewer became aware of the plight of 130 elderly tenants through a news story published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The residents of the Ticknor Terrace Apartments in Grapevine, Texas, as well as residents of two other apartment complexes in Roanoke (Elizabeth Gardens) and Newark (Newark Beach), had been notified that their landlord had withdrawn from the federally funded Farmers Home Adm inistration program which provided them rental assistance. Since these tenants lived on fixed incomes, this action would have resulted in rents immediately rising sharply to an unaffordable amount, forcing them out of their homes.

    After endless meetings and phone calls, long days and weekends, a partnership was formed between the Texas State Office of Public Housing and the Housing Authorities of Tarrant County, Grapevine and Denton, and the Texas Department of Housing and Communit y Affairs. In early April, HUD Headquarters agreed to provide the emergency assistance to the 130 tenants effected at Ticknor Terrace Apartments. Mr. Brewer then provided staff from the Texas State Office of Public Housing to ensure that all the effecte d elderly tenants� applications were processed. Without the intervention of Mr. Brewer and his strong sense of Customer Service and personal integrity, this mission would not have been attempted and, thus, not accomplished.

  • Massachusetts State Office Forms Coalition of Largest LHAs. The HUD Office o Public Housing in Boston initiated a series of meetings of the largest federally aided housing authorities in the Commonwealth. The objective of the coalition is to bring together Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) with 1500 federal conventional public housing units or more to share operational best practices, to identify training needs and to strengthen the working relationship between LHAs and HUD.

  • Nebraska State Office Forms Partnership. The HUD Office of Public Housing in Omaha has entered into a partnership with the State chapter of NAHRO to conduct a customer service survey. The survey instruments have been returned, but have not been tabulated. Once the instruments are tabulated, the results will be forwarded by the State Coordinator. In addition, the Office of Public Housing is working with the State chapter of National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) to create formal partnerships between small rural PHA�s in order to facilitate sharing of purchasing activit ies, maintenance operations and providing management coverage when staff of a PHA is not available to assist residents. This partnership has been mentioned as a public housing "Best Practice."

  • South Carolina State Office Establishes Hands-On Training. The South Carolina office in Columbia conducted several orientation sessions for newly appointed Public Housing Executive Directors. These orientation sessions range from three to four days. Their purpose is to provide the attendees an opportunity to meet the HUD staff and to give them an overview of all of the Public Housing, Section 8, and supporting housing related program functions.

Lessons Learned

  • In our effort to manage attrition, PIH has established a partnership process to assist those offices experiencing staff reductions. This involves negotiations at the local level for those areas where assistance is needed. To date, 10 offices are involved in the partnership process.

  • Recognizing the need to more closely monitor our small and medium sized PHAs, PIH has established a targeted team concept for the purpose of providing technical assistance and guidance.

  • Through the use of the Internet, PIH now publishes nationwide "best practices" information for use by other PHAs and industry group members.

  • PIH, for intervention purposes, will continue to solicit the assistance of industry officials in our efforts to provide technical assistance and guidance to PHAs experiencing operational problems. This process worked well in San Francisco, Chicago, an d Kansas City.

As a result of customer feedback and input, a more proactive approach has been undertaken to respond to customer needs. This has resulted in the creation of more "partnering" between field office staff, industry groups and specific customers (e.g., small PHAs).

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Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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