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SWOTAnalysis
PublicHousingDepartment
MolineHousingAuthority

EXECUTIVESUMMARY
This report was prepared at the request of Moline Housing Authority (MHA) Executive
Director John Afoun, and includes input gathered from the MHA Property Manager and
Maintenance Supervisor. Utilizing traditional SWOT Analysis techniques, the document seeks
especially to identify opportunities for enhancing the public image of the Moline Housing
Authorityandforstafftoparticipateasleadersinprofessionalforumsatthelocal,regional,and
national levels. Because the Housing Authority leadership has intentionally maintained a low
profile in recent years, there exist ample opportunities for staff to participate in efforts to
improve the local public perception of affordable housing and also to convey nationally our
bestpracticesaslearnedduringthedaytodayoperationoftheAuthority.Staffhasidentified
employee training, technology enhancements, and physical improvements to apartments as
some of the major areas needing improvement. Significant threats identified include the
unpredictability of insect infestations, an adversarial relationship with the HUD Field Office,
increasinglysevereweatherevents,andcompartmentalizationofknowledgeandskillsamonga
fewkeyemployees.
In addition to the Executive Summary above, this paper is presented in a Functional
I.R.A.C. format. Issues are first identified. Rules that influence how the issues must be
addressed are discussed next, followed by a detailed Analysis, and finally a Conclusion which
willincluderecommendations,ifapplicable.

ISSUES
Following a period of several years under intense federal scrutiny and accompanying
internal turmoil, many positive developments are converging at a single point in time that
posits MHA to greatly improve both its image and the quality of the public housing program.
The Housing Authority leadership is prepared to take the agency out of its period of self
imposedquarantineandintoaperiodofhighlyvisible,positiveactivity.
First and foremost, we must always examine the primary role of the Moline Housing
Authority with regard to advancing the availability of safe, clean, and affordable housing.
HousingstockwithinthecityofMolinecanlargelybeconsideredaffordable,duetoitshumble
appearance and low construction and land costs. Twenty years after the 1993 floods and
associated demolitions, vacancy rates have increased to or exceeded pre1993 levels. This
makescompetitionforqualitytenantsevenmoredifficult
i
.Amediangrossrent(contractrent
+utilities)forthecityisreportedas$616
ii
comparedtoamedianhouseholdincomeofnearly
$48,529
iii
.ThesestatisticssuggestacommonhouseholdinMolinepaysonly15.2%ofitsgross
income toward housing expenses. However, the quality and safety of much of that housing
stockissubstantiallylacking,ascanbewitnessedbyadrivedownmanyMolinestreets.Repairs
areindireneedthroughoutthecity.Afterdecadesofflatpopulationgrowth
iv
,theneedfora
collaborative approach to improving safe, decent, affordable housing options provides MHA
with an opportunity to emerge as a leader on this front. Less effort is needed to expand the
quantityofaffordablehousinginMoline,butmoreattentionmustbegiventoquality.Thiscan
include increased code enforcement, substantial rehab of existing buildings, or oneforone
replacement of affordable units throughout the city. Because a lone, pristine property in a
neglected neighborhood will only serve to magnify the physical deficiencies of adjacent and
nearby properties, a neighborhood revitalization approach currently favored by HUD makes
sense here. The number of potential stakeholders provides MHA with innumerable
opportunitiestoemergeasaconsensusbuilder,toengagethepublicandserveasanadvocate
and leaderof affordable housing initiatives. Additionally,this will require the added expertise
of those accustomed to securing competitive funds from multiple sources and who also have
theabilitytosubsequentlyadministerlayersofconflictingprogramrequirements.
Thepurposeofthisdocumentistoexplorewayswecanimprovetheaffordablehousing
currentlyofferedbytheMolineHousingAuthority,andtoimprovethecapacityofstafftogrow
theAuthority,bothinsizeandinfluence.

RULES
A S.W.O.T. analysis is a commonly used management tool for assessing the good and
bad qualities of an organization, giving leaders an opportunity to maintain and correct such
items, respectively. It further identifies the factors that are not within leaderships ability to
control, such as opportunities and threats. However, regularly assessing the strengths,
weaknesses,opportunities,andthreatsservestohelptheorganizationalleadershipeffectively
shepherd the Housing Authority through troublesome times, and to take maximum advantage
of opportunities as they are presented. While each of these categories will be discussed
thoroughly herein, focus is given to MHA opportunities, reflective of the optimism felt by the
MHAexecutiveteam.

Strengths:
Asummaryofthepositiveattributes
oftheHousingAuthorityspublic
housingprogram.Thisisconsidered
aninternalfactoroverwhich
leadershiphassubstantial,ifnotfull,
control.
Weaknesses:
Asummaryofthenegativeaspectsof
theHousingAuthorityspublic
housingprogram.Thistoo,is
consideredaninternalfactorover
whichleadershiphassubstantial
controlandabilitytochange.
Threats:
Alsoanexternalfactor,theHousing
Authoritycannottypicallyeliminate
threatssuchasthosepresentedby
groupspromotingextremefiscal
austerity.However,leadershipisable
toidentifythreatsandtakestepsto
minimizetheirimpactonthehousing
program.
Opportunities:
Anexternalfactor,theHousing
Authoritycannottypicallycreate
opportunity,butitcantake
advantageoffavorableconditions
createdbyexternalstakeholdersand
thehousingmarket.

ANALYSIS

InternalFactors
WithintheHousingAuthority,tremendouscompetencehasdevelopedamongthefront
linestaff.Yearsofexperienceandknowledgeofsystemshavebeenpassedfromgenerationto
generation, creating a vast living library of institutional memory.
While various issues have led to the periodic replacement of MHAs
Maintenance Supervisor, several men who previously held that
responsible position remain with MHA and have largely supported
their replacement. And, though a vacuum was felt with the recent
departure of a Property Manager, the remaining management staff
quickly assumed additional responsibilities and help each other by
learningasmanyaspectsoftheoperationaspossible.Thisallowsfor
crosstraining,reducesthepotentialforboredomandburnout,andcreatesaninformalpathto
careergrowth.
As a new employee with MHA, I can repeat here what I have often stated since my
arrival. The overall quality of staff at this Housing Authority exceeds that of any other
organization with which I have previously been affiliated. MHA carefully focuses attention on
theneedsoftheindividual....bothresidentandemployee.Thoughmodestinsize,thescale
of the Authoritys operations has prevented employees from becoming overwhelmed by crisis
management.Theportfolioismanageable,andIbelievethishelpskeepstresslevelsincheck
and employee morale generally high, notwithstanding the unfortunate aftermath of oversight
issuesexperiencedintherecentpast.
MHAsMaintenanceSupervisoridentifiedthelongtermtenureofapproximatelyhalfhis
employees as the primary strength of his department. He also reports that these employees
are properly equipped and dedicated to maintaining the High Performer PHAS designation
awardedbyHUD.AsenseofprideisprevalentamongtheMHAteam.
MHAs Property Manager identifies a knowledgeable, dedicated, and selfaware staff as
the primary strength of her department. I can attest to this, as I have often pointed out that
staff is usually well aware of areas needing improvement, and require only the training or
manpower to implement needed changes. The team rallies when needed to overcome
obstacles, both professional and personal. The tortuous scrutiny of the recent federal inquiry
servedtocementtherelationshipsofthepresentstaff,awardingthemwithacamaraderiethat
isdifficulttorecreate.
trengths
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Whilethisdocumentisnotintendedtoexhaustivelyexploreidentifiablestrengths,Iwill
listheremanyofthekeypositiveattributesofMHA:

CompetentStaff Mediumsizeportfolio
Willingnesstobeanindustry
frontrunner(bedbugsniffingdogs,
electronickioskatHillsideHeights,
internetconnectivity
Favorableratioofmaintenance
employeestonumberofunits
managed
Employeelongevity ConsistenthighperformerforPHAS
Diverseworkforce Supportiveandnurturingleadership
Employeecamaraderie Employeetaskownership
Commitmenttoresidentretention Wellmaintainedproperties
Individualattentionforresidents Raciallyandculturallydiverse
residents

Itshouldbenotedthat,whileMHAscommitmenttoindividualsuccessforbothemployees
and residents is admirable, it has the sideeffect of contributing to the perception of Housing
Authoritynonresponseorprocrastination.Interestingly,thisperceptiondoesnotappeartobe
heldbyexternalstakeholders,butratherbyemployeesandresidentsthemselves...thevery
ones who stand to most benefit from a thoughtful, though slow, enforcement of adverse
actions. An effort should be made to develop a keen sense of tolerance and empathy among
all,asaslownesstoapplyforce(employeeterminationoreviction)isanadmirablequalityina
leader and can bring stability to a program such as MHAs. A Creoninspired approach to
managementmayindeedgenerateimmediateresults,buttheseareusuallyPyrrhicvictoriesat
best.
The Housing Authority does offer many opportunities for residents and employees to
gather in semisocial settings throughout the year. But, these are unfortunately poorly
attended. Extra effort is warranted here and MHA should attempt to incentivize resident
participation at group functions and Housing Authority sponsored events. Door prizes and
raffle tickets handed out at each public meeting for an endofyear grand prize drawing may
helpspurinterest.Asmay,publicrecognitionofparticularlyoutstandingparticipants.

Groupconfidence,thoughnotnecessarilymorale,doesseemtobelackingduetorecent
federal investigations and continued negativity flowing from HUDs Chicago field office. The
purposefullyslowimplementationofnewideasbyMr.Afounhasbeenmisinterpretedbyboth
staff and residents as an unwillingness to address issues and
implement creative suggestions. To the contrary, this perceived
slownessisinsteadreflectiveofanattempttogatherinput
from all stakeholders, and build consensus, prior to
implementing a new policy or idea. Mr. Afoun has already publicly
acknowledged this complaint and his desire to demonstrate an
expedited,thoughstillmethodical,responseinthefuture.
MHA should identify, through active listening, opportunities to quickly respond to such
suggestionsandrequests,soasnottostiflecreativity.Thismightincludeimplementingbenign
andlowcostsuggestionsthatmightnototherwisehaveattractedtheattentionoftheHousing
Authority. While not ignoring greater opportunities, setting aside a small portion of the
HousingAuthoritiesestimatedannualcapitalfundgrant(say$10,000persite)forresidentsto
spend on their favorite projects, will go a long way toward maintaining positive relationships
withthecommunity.
ThelengthofMHAsExecutiveDirectorscontractisshortcomparedtomanyothersin
theindustry.Alongertermcontract(5years),anindustrynorm,communicatestheconfidence
of the Board and its belief that the Executive Director is the right leader for the Authority. It
furtherconveysamessagetothestafffromtheExecutiveDirectorthathewantstoremainfor
alongperiodoftime,providingasenseofstabilitytoemployeesandtheirfamilies.
Therehasbeeninsufficientattentiontoemployeeevaluations.Thisnotonlycombatsa
need to provide clear tracks for career growth, it potentially creates an opportunity for an
employeetoclaimdiscriminationiftheyareevertherecipientofadisciplinaryaction.Though
key management personnel have attended supervisory leadership training, others have
receivedlittletonoformaltrainingtohelpthembettermeettheircurrentjobresponsibilities.
MHAs Maintenance Supervisor identifies a persistent staff shortage, low morale, and
lack of teamwork as significant weaknesses affecting his department. He would like to see
advanced technical training for his staff, improved coordination and scheduling with the
property management team, and a more purposeful and strategic approach to delivering
maintenanceservicestoresidentsandemployees.Interestingly,thisisthesoleinstancewhere
I have been warned that employee morale is a current problem. Some employees feel they
workharderthanothersforlesspay.Othersfeeltheirinputisnotvalued.Stillothersappear
tobeunderutilizedandbored,asisevidencedbythepropensityformaintenanceemployeesto
occasionallyengageintheoverdramatizationofminorissues.
eaknesses
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The maintenance department acts largely in a reactive fashion, namely in response to


tenant requests, inclement weather, and unanticipated equipment failures. Although the
HousingAuthorityhasthousandsofappliancesandotherpiecesofcomplicatedequipmentand
machinery, little is done in the way of routine maintenance of these items. Manufacturer
schedules for maintenance are simply not reviewed, much less followed. This will almost
always require replacement of an item prior to the end of its expected useful life. It also
introduces an avoidable element of risk to the Housing Authority. Additionally, the lack of a
scheduledbulkreplacementofmajoritemsresultsinmanydifferenttypesofappliancesowned
and maintained by MHA at any given time. This increases inventory costs and requires
maintenancetobeknowledgeableofmultipleappliancetypes.
Aformalqualitycontrolprogram,outsideofannualUPCSinspections,doesnotexist.A
maintenanceemployeeconductsallUPCSinspections,aweaknesseasilyresolvedbyrequiring
inspections to be performed by either the property management staff or an independent
contractor. Finally, lack of a routinely scheduled paint program for the apartments results in
valued,longtermresidentslivinginapartmentsthatarecosmeticallydeficient,andwhoareas
a result dissatisfied. All of these threats point to a need for more purposeful, strategic, and
thoughtfulmanagementofthemaintenancedepartment.
MHAs Property Manager echoes the lack of training for staff as a key weakness in her
department. Such ongoing training is needed not only for the technical aspects of HUD
programs, but also for general property management techniques. Staff tends to exercise
reactivemanagementandgenerallyhandlesproblemsastheyoccur.Littleiscurrentlydonein
the way of proactive management. Additional weaknesses include poor document and file
management,andagenerallackofcommunicationbetweendepartments.
Currently, every single maintenance item is categorized within MHAs computer
software as miscellaneous . . . this prevents us from having the ability to identify trends,
budget for high ticket items, etc. While the present software system is capable of tracking
maintenance subcategories, there is an overwhelming cry for replacement software for other
reasons. Specifically, a need exists for a seamless software solution that provides for an
executivedashboardandcustomreportingthatisuserfriendly.

ExternalFactors
MHA can position itself as the community leader for the advancement of affordable
housing interests within the city of Moline. Utilizing its stance as a public entity, MHA could
gatherkeystakeholdersinthecommunitytoidentifytheimmediateandfuturehousingneeds
for the city, building on the citys own consolidated plan. An
organization or task force could be created that would then shepherd
implementation of those initiatives. The Housing Authority would
foreverberecognizedforitsleadershipincreatingsuchagroup.
The presence of five housing authorities operating in the Quad
Cities region presents an opportunity for future participation in
consortiumsorother,lesspermanentcollaborations.Itmaybepossible,
for instance, for a Housing Authority with countywide jurisdiction to partner withMHA on an
affordablehousingprojectwithinthecitylimitsofMoline.
As mentioned earlier, MHA is currently battling a perception that it procrastinates or
otherwise ignores many requests made by residents. We can implement a protocol whereby
werespondtoaresident,inwriting,withinthreedaysofarequestlettingthemknowhowtheir
requestorsuggestionisbeinghandled.Aslongasitremainsopen,anupdatelettershouldbe
sentevery30days.Insidetheselettersthereshouldalwaysbeasentencewhichacknowledges
theexactnumberofdaysthathaveexpiredsincetheoriginalrequestwasmade.Thiswillserve
to not only improve communications with residents and assure them they are being taken
seriously;itwillalsohelpkeepMHAemployeessharpandresponsive.
Wehaveanopportunitytoimproveuponouralreadyhighstandards.Ihavebeenhere
but a short while, and in that time I have noticed that MHA maintains many aspects of its
portfolio in line with industry and regional norms. For instance, floor tiles are replaced as
needed with whatever color closest matches the original tile. Over years, this results in an
unappealingmosaicofdifferentcoloredanddifferentpatternedtilefloors.Wecanimproveon
thisthroughselectionofamaterialthatismoreconducivetofuturerepairs.Snow removalis
also an area where I think we can improve both our curb appeal and services to residents.
Whileourtreatmentofroadsandcommonsidewalksmatcheswhatiscommonlyattemptedby
other Moline property owners, I believe we can do so much better by holding ourselves to a
higher standard. Below are two photos of similar parking lots, one is an MHA parking lot, the
pportunities
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otherbelongstoalocallibrary
1
.Eachphotowastakenonthesamedaywithinanhourofthe
other,itshouldalsobenotedthatthesephotosweretakenseveraldaysafterasnowfall.


HillsideHeights BettendorfPublicLibrary
Arelatedopportunityistoengagethevolunteerassistanceofourcounterpartsinother
HousingAuthoritysandlocalmarketrateapartmentcommunitiestovisitoursitesandoffera
peer review of our assets, curb appeal, and practices. This gives us access to additional
expertiseandwillhelpusbuildrelationshipsbeyondourlittleworldofpublichousing.
Historically, MHA has done little in the way of seeking competitive grant funds. The
current administration is supportive of competing for HUD ROSS grants, and there are many
other opportunities to seek additional funds. These include HUD Emergency Repair grants,
vendorgrants,andmanyopportunitiesthatarepublishedonwww.grants.gov.
A significant component of many grant applications is the ability of an applicant to put
together a comprehensive network of joint applicants and service providers who will provide
measurable support for the implementation and success of the grant. MHA needs to do a lot
here to improve, seeking even more partnerships with Project NOW, the Workforce
Development Board, Robert Young Center, schools, city and county departments, Bethany for
Children & Families, and others. These relationships must be cultivated now in order to be
matureenoughforfuturepartnerships.
A quick way to seek national recognition for good works is to nominate the Housing
Authority for successful programs. NAHRO offers many such opportunities, including the Best
Practicesprogram,withapplicationdeadlinesinthewintermonthsforprogramsandpractices

1
ItshouldbenotedthattheBettendorfLibraryparkinglotservicesacommercialestablishmentandsnow
removersenjoyanemptyparkinglotwhenthelibraryisclosed.However,whileitmaybemoredifficult,Ithinkit
iscertainlypossibletomatchthislevelofqualityatMHA.
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that are fully implemented by October. Nearly every trade organization offers some type of
award program, and MHA should identify a single employee to track and submit to such
recognition programs. Such applications should be submitted by MHA annually and new
programs should be purposefully and thoughtfully created with an eye toward winning such
awards.
Executive staff of MHA should endeavor to gain leadership roles on various trade
organization committees, and otherwise become involved in the governing of such
organizations.NAHRO,PHADA,andIREMallregularlyseekinvolvementfromtheirmembersin
return for the policy influence, legislative insights and networking opportunities. Additional
organizations include the North Central Regional Council (local NAHRO) and the Illinois
AssociationofHousingAuthorities.Finally,theboardofdirectorsfortheAssistedHousingRisk
ManagementAssociation(AHRMA)iscomposedofHousingAuthorityemployees,offeringMHA
an opportunity to seek appointment to that important organization. Similarly, employees can
beencouragedtoparticipateinvariouscity,county,andstateboardsandcommittees.
MHA has an opportunity to submit article proposals to various industry magazines,
trade journals, and government publications. These may exist in the form of white papers or
researchworks.Fundingmaybeavailabletounderwritethetimethatcouldbespentonsuch
research and writing, with the Housing Authority receiving recognition for the publishing of
worksbystaffthroughnationaloutlets.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is finalizing the
requirementsforHousingAuthoritiestoregularlyprepareajointPhysicalNeedsAssessment/
EnergyAudit.ThoughcurrentregulationsrequirebothaPNAandanEnergyAuditona5year
schedule, the popular consensus is that these studies have been grossly insufficient for
successful administration of the capital fund program. The new requirements will help the
Authority strategically plan for future repair and replacement costs associated with the public
housingprogram.Weareintheunfortunatepositionofwaitingforafinalruletobeissuedby
HUD before we can procure a new PNA, but also faced with a technical failure to adhere to
existing regulations because one of MHAs 5year studies is due in January 2013. However,
because HUD has publicly denounced the effectiveness of the current studies, we are electing
topostponeinfavorofspendingourresourcesinaproductivefashion.
AnadditionalareaoffocusbytheHUDfieldofficehasbeenonourtenantfiles.These
filesareinneedofamassiveoverhaulastheycontainalotofmaterialsthatareunnecessary.
Wecanstreamlineourdailyactivitieswithanewfilingsystemandrelatedhardware.Thisis
alsoagoodtimetocontemplateaschedulefortransitioningtoapaperlesssystem.
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In order to encourage community involvement, MHA can create a program that allows
anemployeetospend2paidhoursamonthvolunteeringinthecommunity.Thiswouldserve
notonlytoboostmorale,especiallyifpairedwithavolunteerrecognitionprogram,butalsoto
spread awareness of the Housing Authority among the public. To further boost morale, we
couldengageinAdoptAHighwayprograms,encouragegroupparticipationinlocal5kruns(or
sponsoroneofourown),andpossiblyevensponsortheconstructionofanewhomebyHabitat
ForHumanity.
Recognizing the potential of our workforce, we should consider creating an Emerging
Leader training program for MHA employees whereby they participate in personality
assessments, identify future roles theyd like to fill within the agency, and develop a
correspondingtrainingprogramandcareertrackthatwillhelpthemattaintheirgoals.Include
jobshadowing,formaleducation,payincreasesandincentivebonuseswhenkeymilestonesare
reached. To further ensure employee success, we should require industry certification
(NAHRO) and continuing education for all employees. And, though these certifications do not
typically require renewal, it will be wise for an employee to take refresher training
approximately every five years unless they can otherwise distribute continued mastery of the
subject.
MHA should require ARM certification for property management staff and CPM
certification for the Property Manager and Asset Manager. These advanced certifications
awarded by the Institute for Real Estate Managers (IREM) are highly respected in the private
housingindustryandareincreasinglyrequiredinordertobeconsideredforExecutiveDirector
positions. While the affordable housing industry certifications offered by NAHRO and
Nan McKay are valuable, they dont mean much outside of the public housing realm. Seeking
certificationfromIREMwillannouncetorealestateprofessionalsthatwehavearrivedandhold
ourselves to a higher standard. Additionally, such certifications position us to be more
successful in grant award competitions and make us more attractive to syndicators who
purchasetaxcredits.
Finally, a bonus structure popular with other Housing Authorities could be introduced
here in an effort to recognize the hard work and dedication of MHA employees. Housing
Authorities who achieve High Performer status also enjoy a 3% increase to their capital fund
awards.HUDreferstothis3%incentiveasabonus.Iproposedistributingthisincreasetothe
entire body of employees, perhaps at the annual holiday lunch and training session. By
definition, this is money the Housing Authority would not receive if the employees did not go
above and beyond HUD expectations. For the Moline Housing Authority, a 3% capital fund
bonus amounts to approximately $24,000. This amount could be distributed evenly among
employeesorwithaformulathatrecognizesindividualinfluenceonthePHASscore.
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The existence of a 24hour news cycle has forced local media to turn seemingly non
eventsintolargeissues,exactinglargeamountsoftimeandenergyfromstaffandoftencasting
everyoneaffiliatedwiththeAuthorityinabadlight.Whileitmaybeimpossibletocontrolthe
news cycle, MHA can get in front of potentially negative items by
increasing employees awareness of risk management techniques,
avoiding potentially harmful and newsworthy events. Additionally,
the Executive Director can seek regular meetings with media
representatives.Makinghimselfavailabletomediaforinterviews
and quotes is an excellent way of fostering good relationships
with reporters who often feel their stories are weakened by
repetitiveuseofthephraserepresentativesoftheagencycouldnotbereachedforcomment.
Amajority,Imtold,of moldcomplaintslodgedbyresidentsarehandledbyinstructing
residents to be more thorough in their cleaning practices. While this may be appropriate in
someinstances,itiscontrarytomyexperiencewithotherHousingAuthoritieswhoincurgreat
expenseabatingmold.Furtherinternalstudyandananalysisofindustrypracticesandourlegal
obligationsarenecessarytoensurethisissueisproperlyaddressed.
Since1950,therehavebeen322tornadoeventswithin50milesofMoline.
v
Whilemost
of these have occurred outside of city limits, Moline is still considered 92% more likely to
experience a tornado than most cities according to a national tornado index
vi
. This threat,
combined with extreme temperatures and increasingly violent weather trends warrants the
creationofanemergencypreparednessandresponseprotocolbyMHA.Wecanlearnlessons
from other Housing Authorities who had long been aware of potential threats but did little to
prepare for them and faced extensive criticism as a result. An Emergency Preparedness and
Response Team could develop readiness and response policies. Funds could be used to
purchaseequipmentandsuppliesthatwouldbehelpfulinanemergencyandofferashortterm
abilitytoremainfunctionallyviableifdisconnectedfromcityservicesandutilities.
MHAs Maintenance Supervisor associates lack of tenant knowledge with respect to
managingandpreventinginfestationsasakeythreattotheprogram.Othersseetheproblem
more as a simple unwillingness of residents to do the work necessary to assist MHA and its
contractorsineradicatingtheinfestation.Decadesofsubstandardhousekeepingexpectations
and hesitation on the part of MHA staff to enforce related lease provisions results in a
significantoveralldeclineinthequalityofourhousingstock.
Ofcourse,HUDcontinuestofreezeourexistingcapitalfundgrantsinarelentlesseffort
to recapture what it alleges are misspent ARRA Capital Fund dollars. Our inability to access
hreats
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capital funds result in a continued deferment of major capital improvement projects at the
expenseofresidentsatisfactionandsafety.
Additional cross training is needed at the middle management and executive
managementlevels.Specificallywithregardtobudgetmanagement,moreemployeesneedto
be aware of the details of MHAs financial management. Budget variances should be
understood by the managers involved in collecting and spending the money. MHA follows an
industrynormwherebytheFinanceDirectorisoftenthemostknowledgeableemployeewithin
the Authority. Though not wrong, this silo of knowledge must be shared in order to better
identify opportunities for improvement, safeguard against fraud, and allow others an
opportunityforcareergrowth.
MHAs Property Manager identifies the close proximity of four other Housing
Authorities in the Quad Cities area as a threat to her ability to retain residents. This will
become an even greater challenge when Flat Rents are raised to reflect the true Fair Market
Rents of comparable units in the area. Currently, many MHA households that enjoy relatively
healthy incomes receive the added benefit of paying rent/utilities far below the maximum
allowable30%ofadjustedmonthlyincome.ThisisaresultofyearsoffailuretoraiseFlatRents
in line with escalating local Fair Market Rents. Currently, the most any 1 bedroom household
will pay to live in an MHA apartment is $346/month, an amount that includes utility
consumption.TheresultisthateachyearMHAasksthefederalgovernmentformoresubsidy
than it is entitled to, based on HUD Regulations. Disparities between the current Flat Rent
schedulescomparedtolocalFairMarketRentsarepresentedbelow.

MHAFlatRent FairMarket
Rent
23

Difference
0Bedroom $310 $448 31%
1Bedroom $346 $555 38%
2Bedroom $436 $711 39%
3Bedroom $555 $959 42%
4Bedroom $579 $1,009 43%

BecauseofthegrowingcomplexityofPublicHousingprogramrules,Isuggestretaininga
well connected and knowledgeable industry consultant who can advise us of new program
requirements,updatetheagencyplan,andmakerecommendationsforpolicychanges.Sucha

2
http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/fmr/fmrs/FY2013_code/select_Geography.odn
3
Note:localFMRswilldifferfromthesemetrowideaverages.ActualFMRswillseektoidentifyunitssimilarin
size,age,andamenities.
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consultantcanalsobecontractedtoremindtheHousingAuthorityofcompliancerequirements
as they come due and advise us of pending program changes being contemplated by HUD or
Congress.Thiscontractcouldbeprocuredintheformofanannualpolicyandpracticesaudit.

Conclusion
In essence, the Housing Authority has an opportunity to reinvent itself as an agency
whose primary mission is to advance affordable housing opportunities and sustainable
neighborhood revitalization, not simply to administer subsidized housing programs. This may
entail serving as advisors on a project, or behind the scene advocates, simply to assure it is
broughttofruition.And,itmayalsorequireMHAtoengageinhighlyvisiblepartnershipsthat
createhardassetsandmanagementopportunities.Proactiveinteractionswithlocalmediawill
helpensureourmessageisnotlostinsensationalistrhetoric.
Improvedmaintenanceoperationsthatutilizeindustryrecognizedbestpracticessuchas
followingmanufacturersrepairandreplacementschedules,preventivemaintenanceschedules,
qualitycontrolinitiatives,andthoughtfulselectionofmaterials,willallimprovethelivabilityof
our apartments. Peer review of our sites and practices will help identify areas where we can
rise above industry standards and regional norms. Emergency preparedness and response
effortswillsafeguardusagainstfuturedisastersandpositionustobehelpfultootheragencies.
Residents need tangible proof that their concerns have been received and are being
addressed. A practice of responding in writing to every such instance within three days and
again every 30 days an issue remains unresolved will provide tenants with such proof. This,
combinedwithincentivestoparticipateinpublicmeetingswilltietheMHAstaffandresidents
withastrongcordofprofessionalism,partnershipandappreciation.
Thoughtfulandtimelyemployeeevaluations,advancedandfrequenttechnicaltraining,
participation by all employees in NAHRO, IREM, and local apartment associations will broadly
distributeourmessageofadvocacy,introduceemployeestonewpractices,andholdusalltoa
higher standard. Creation of job growth tracks, and creating new incentive rewards will all
combinetoboostmoraleofMHAemployees.Wewillmakeouremployeesbetteratwhatthey
do, and we will retain them through our multifaceted approach to employee recognition for
valueaddedperformance.
Beginning with a strong foundation of caring and competent employees, we can
carefully prepare to defend MHA against threats, identify and eliminate our weaknesses,
capitalizeonexistingstrengths,andbepreparedtotakeadvantageofsignificantopportunities.
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i
www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/CMAR_QuadCitiesIAIL.pdf
ii
www.citydata.com/housing/housesMolineIllinois.html
iii
www.quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1749867.html
iv
www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=place:1749867&dl=en&hl=e
n&q=moline%20il%20population%20trends#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=population&scale_y=li
n&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=place:1749867&ifdim=country&tstart=646894800000&tend=1309582800000
&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false
v
www.homefacts.com/tornadoes/Illinois/RockIslandCounty/Moline.html
vi
www.clrsearch.com/EastMolineDemographics/IL/?compare=61265