The Housing Authority of the County of Warren heard reports from staff Tuesday afternoon despite lacking the members to constitute a quorum.
Jolene Weaver and Dale Reitz were the only members of the authority able to attend the meeting where they received updates on the state of the organization
Executive Director Tonya Mitchell-Weston reported the authority is moving forward in the application for a three-year Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) grant. Mitchell-Weston stated the authority had hired a grant writer to prepare for a due date on Tue., Mar. 27. According to Mitchell-Weston the grant would be used to hire a co-ordinator for all public housing facilities. She stated the move would, "free up managers to focus on managing properties."
Mitchell-Weston stated the authority is working on a partnership with the Warren-Forest County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC).
"We're working to build collaborative relationships with other area agencies," stated Mitchell-Weston. "We serve a lot of the same clients."
According to Mitchell-Weston, the EOC has referred a number of clients to the authority in the past.
Mitchell-Weston stated authority staff is currently preparing for a HUD Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) physical inspection. She noted the authority had hired an evaluator in preparation for the inspection.
"We did not do exceptionally well," stated Mitchell-Weston. "It's meant, partly, to be a learning tool so we know where to focus our energy."
Mitchell-Weston stated the problems found were mostly in "detail items" such as filling potholes left from winter plow damage, securing electrical panels in secure areas and repairing marks left in door frames from hinges removed when the doors were removed.
According to Mitchell-Weston, she feels confident the authority will meet REAC requirements by inspection time next year and noted the authority is working on making necessary improvements. She also noted staff would be leaving to attend REAC training in Harrisburg immediately following the meeting.
Authority Section 8 Housing Co-ordinator Mary Mundt reported the authority will be changing interviews with potential residents back to a one-on-one format. Mundt stated the format helps maintain confidentiality and allows the authority to, "get a better feel for the person." She noted the format didn't seem to make the application process any lengthier.
Mitchell-Weston noted she feels the authority moves quickly in filling openings compared to other housing authorities.
"A couple of weeks or months is not bad," stated Mitchell-Weston. "Compared to other housing authorities taking 5 to 7 years and as long as 9 (years) to provide section 8 housing."
Mundt reported the authority received 40 applications for housing during a waiting list open enrollment period last month. She stated she is currently verifying the applications.
Mundt also reported she will be attending training the week of Mar. 26 as a resident hearing officer.
Mitchell-Weston reported the authority is in the process of acquiring a new solicitor, a firm for proposed office renovations, a cleaning and painting service and looking into hiring an occupancy specialist to streamline paperwork depending on budgetary constraints.
Mitchell-Weston also stated the authority was looking in a new door system to track traffic into and out of authority buildings.