Chester Spirit: Thumbs up for CHA a year after court ends oversight Feds say public housing works well in Chester

Thumbs up for CHA a year after court ends oversight Feds say public housing works well in Chester
By Staff Report, Chester Spirit
December 9, 2015
Original Article

In its first review of the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) since the agency emerged from 20 years of federal court oversight at the beginning of 2014, the U. S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says CHA is operating its public housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs extremely well.

In addition, the assessment notes positive communication between CHA and the residents it serves.

“HUD has the right and ability to evaluate public housing agencies at any time and we welcome honest scrutiny,” said CHA Executive Director Steven A. Fischer. “It is a testament to our staff that HUD issued such a glowing review.”

Regarding CHA’s housing, HUD wrote: The developments are…high caliber assets of which CHA, the Board of Commissioners and the City of Chester should be proud. The (intimate) level of staff awareness, implemented policies and procedures, and their reports indicate that effective systems are in place for monitoring both CHA-managed and third-party-managed developments. “

About the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (formerly called Section 8), the HUD assessment said: “The Chester HCV program does have key managerial controls in place and that the core functions of the HCV program appear to be operating quite well, particularly in the context of a challenging administrative funding environment. This has been accomplished through a combination of knowledgeable, experienced housing professionals at the authority along with effective use of contractors and technology…it appears the CHA’s choices have been deliberate and well informed.”

The report also noted ongoing community-wide crime statistics showing a decrease in crime on public housing properties. “Contributing to the decrease is the dedication of the CHA Police Department,” the assessment said.

A glowing component of the report described the relationship between CHA and the community: “It was evident that communication between all parties is positive: The Chester Housing Authority eagerly promotes active resident programs and activities that contribute to a self-sufficient environment. The Resident Advisory Board and Resident Councils demonstrated a feeling of empowerment by being encouraged to participate and contribute meaningful input to the CHA’s overall mission and operations,” the assessment indicated.

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