TO: CHA Residents
FROM: Paul A. Dellinger, Executive Director
DATE: March 3, 2022
CC: Olivia Parfait, Deputy Director
SUBJECT: CHA 2022 Agency Plan Update & RAD Conversion Update
The Cleveland Housing Authority (CHA) will be scheduling Resident meetings to review and discuss the 2022 Agency Plan and 5 Year Capital Plan as well as provide a RAD conversion update to its residents. Written Notices were provided to all CHA tenants in February, informing them of the March meetings. In keeping with the COVID-19 Pandemic protocols, we are requiring all residents who wish to attend these meetings to wear a mask and observe the social distance seating arrangement provided in our community meeting room. We have scheduled two (2) meeting times for Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 10:00am and 4:00pm.
The PHA Plan template and an updated progress report narrative on our mission and goals will be posted for your review in our lobby and on our website at www.clevelandhousingauthority.org. 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 due to the ongoing 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 2021 Agency Plan update, we provided residents a written summary of the RAD conversion plans and encouraged residents to comply with their lease and remain in place because current plans could, and most likely would, change before any final decisions are made.
During 2021, 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 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 was considered. 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 put 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 and its development partner, TCG, used the available time to fine tune the plans and prepare for a 2022 tax credit application submission. As of this date CHA is on schedule to make its submission on or before March 4, 2022.
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) or Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program model. Residents of those units/locations will continue to receive rental housing assistance through the selected program. Until that time, all current CHA residents should continue to comply with their lease and should not move at this time.
CHA will continue to study the best alternative for renovation and/or reconstruction of the Cooper Elderly site as the current configuration with exterior stairways limit accessibility and functionality for the intended occupants. As of this date, the preferred option is to demolish the location and build back appropriately designed units to improve accessibility and livability for our residents. This would require the use of tax credits for additional funding to support the new construction effort. We would hope for a 2023 submission cycle for this next phase of our RAD conversion.
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.
We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the 1st Phase of our conversion. Additional meetings will be held in a format to be determined based on the Pandemic conditions at that time. Those meetings will include explanation of the estimated Project Schedule as well as any Resident Relocation activity as needed.
Lastly, as you know, CHA has been accumulating vacant units throughout its portfolio as preparation for the 1st Phase of the RAD conversion. This has been difficult, but necessary, in order to position ourselves for a successful and on-schedule rehabilitation project. We estimate that Phase 1 will take 18 to 24 months to complete.
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 have remained as the Pandemic continues to impact our community. Additionally, these features have been well received and have proven to provide flexibility and convenience for our tenants.
Residents 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.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to call, write, or email me no later than 5:00pm, Friday, April 1, 2022 so that I may respond and include your comments with our 2022 Agency Plan submission to HUD.