Under normal circumstances, we would be scheduling Resident meetings to review and discuss the Cleveland Housing Authority 2021 Agency Plan and 5 Year Capital Plan. However, as we know, 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic have greatly affected what was "normal" and has resulted in many new ways of delivering our housing assistance related services and information to our Residents.
In lieu of our Resident meetings held at the Community Room of our main offices at 450 Walker Street, I will be providing a written report to you for review and comment. This information will be posted on CHA's website at www.clevelandhousingauthority.org under the Latest News found on the front page. Also, the Public Hearing for the 2021 Agency Plan will be held on Monday, March 15, 2021 at noon in a "virtual" electronic format known as Zoom. If you are interested, you may join the meeting using the following:
Meeting ID: 864 3897 4480
Or by phone Dial: +1 646 558 8656
The PHA Plan template and an updated progress report narrative on our mission and goals will be posted for your review. What follows is the written summary of the update to this year's plan which focuses heavily on the status of our RAD conversion, but will also include a brief discussion of operational changes made to the delivery of client services during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
In December 2018, CHA submitted a RAD application to begin its due diligence for the feasibility of exiting HUD's Public Housing Program and entering HUD's Multi-Family Program. In early 2020, CHA selected The Communities Group (TCG) as its development partner to assist in determining the best method for preserving and expanding CHA's affordable housing portfolio. A Master Plan was developed to guide future preservation, modernization, rehabilitation, and construction of affordable housing units within its portfolio. We shared this information with you during our Resident meetings at that time and emphasized that all CHA residents should comply with their lease and remain in place as there was no need to move. Prior to submitting last year's 2020 Agency Plan update, we held similar meetings and encourage residents to comply with their lease and remain in place because current plans could and most likely will change before any final decisions are made.
During 2020, work and preparation was begun to submit a Tax Credit application to the State of Tennessee as part of the funding of the 1st Phase of CHA's RAD conversion. This phase would include significant rehabilitation of approximately 300 of the 420 current public housing units. Additionally, some demolition and new construction of appropriately designed units for the elderly and disabled were being planned. Regrettably, early in 2021 the State of Tennessee received more applications than the available funding and subsequently stopped accepting any additional applications. As a result, this puts CHA's plans on hold until early 2022.
Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy resulted in significantly higher construction cost estimates than anticipated. The additional site work for areas of new construction also came in higher than expected, thus making the new construction portion of the plan cost-prohibitive. As a result, CHA will not move forward with the planned new construction work at this time. CHA plans to have all remaining elements ready for a future application submission when appropriate.
As part of CHA's conversion, a small number of units/locations will be transferred (sold) to CHA's non-profit, Tanasi Housing Development Corporation. These units/locations will continue to be operated as affordable housing units under a Project Based Voucher (PBV) program model. Residents of those units/locations will continue to receive rental housing assistance through CHA's PBV program.
CHA will continue to study the best alternative for renovation and/or reconstruction of the Cooper Elderly site to provide appropriately designed units as the current configuration with exterior stairways limit accessibility and functionality for the intended occupants.
It is important that all current CHA residents should continue to comply with their lease and should not move at this time. The plans described in this narrative update reflect our current plan based on current conditions. A change in future conditions may likely result in a change in our plans.
You may be aware that during 2020 CHA implemented the following items to better serve our residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many of these features will remain after the Pandemic has been removed.
Residents now have the option to pay via credit card through our website or by calling the office. Many residents are taking advantage of this payment option. Residents may also drop payment or other paperwork in a secure drop box at the Main Office located at 450 Walker Street NE. CHA will be installing self-service customer Kiosks in the front lobby area as an additional option to handle applications, rent payments, and other housing assistance related paperwork and processing. The Kiosks will provide the opportunity to communicate with CHA staff by webcam and computer audio to answer questions and provide client services as needed. The Kiosks will be operational when the lobby is re-opened to the public.
Additionally, CHA has updated its website to provide online rent payment and online application features to better enhance service delivery to our clients.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to call, write, or email me no later than 5:00pm, Thursday, April 1, 2021 so that I may respond and include your comments with our 2021 Agency Plan submission to HUD.