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---Issued November 16, 2014

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie is developing a five-year (2015-2019) Strategic Plan to address challenges in identifying new opportunities for the Housing Authority and its residents.

HACE leaders engage in a brainstorming session on the Authority's five-year Strategic Plan at the October 2014 NAHRO National Conference in Baltimore.

HACE is seeking community-wide input for this plan, meeting with everyone from Mayor Joseph Sinnott to partner agencies, HACE staffers, and public housing  residents.

"Since its inception in 1938, HACE has gone from a brick and mortar agency that simply provided housing and shelter, to an organization that’s partners with many agencies to bring health care, recreation, public safety, job development and counseling services into our neighborhoods," said John E.  Horan, executive director of the Authority.

“Housing and helping is what we are all about and we want to do it better."

As a part of the Housing Authority’s Strategic Planning process, senior HACE staffers have already identified a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,  (S.W.OT.):

STRENGTHS

• HACE’s record in reducing crime in their housing developments.
• High levels of resident satisfaction with living conditions (90% satisfied always or most of the time).
• Improvements in property maintenance and management to achieve HUD public housing high achiever rating of 90%.
• Maintained HUD Section 8 high achiever rating score of 100%.
• Improved annual inspections of our properties by contracting with HUD certified inspectors.
• Continue to excel in the annual rate of capital fund obligation.
• High occupancy rates in public housing (2014 average of 97%).
• Excellent management of financial resources and of housing stock.
• High rent collection rate in 2013. Total cash receipts up $118,893 over 2012. HACE collected 98.25% of all charges in 2013.
• Maintained HomePLUS Program at Schmid Towers and Friendship Apartments in 2013, enabling 235 elderly and residents with disabilities to remain in their homes.
• Increase in the number of residents participating in both the Section 8 and Public Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
• HACE continues to engage a variety of private non-profit partners in the provision of supportive services to its residents.


WEAKNESSES

• Staff training and recruitment.
• Below 97% occupancy for the Veterans Assisted Section 8 Housing (VASH) program.
• Below 100% fund utilization in Section 8 Voucher Program.
• 2014 budget deficit requiring use of HACE reserves.
• Current homeownership efforts are limited to the Family Self-Sufficiency program.
• Greater Erie Industrial Development Corporation’s failure to find businesses that would provide jobs for public housing residents in the Savocchio Business Park located adjacent to Harbor Homes.
• Lack of succession plan for key staff leadership positions.
• Long tenure among HACE board members.


OPPORTUNITIES

• Evidence of housing need demonstrated in the City’s HUD Consolidated Plan.
• Improve collaboration and cooperation in administration of Section 8 voucher portability with the Erie County Housing Authority.
• Use of HACE financial strength to leverage additional affordable housing initiatives.
• Increase in population due to immigrants and refugees.
• Ownership of vacant land on West 38th Street with development potential.


THREATS

• Negative influence of the surrounding neighborhoods on some Housing Authority’s physical assets. HACE budget cuts have forced the elimination of the Concentrated Code Enforcement Program in neighborhoods surrounding public housing developments.
• Community priorities regarding housing assistance and extent to which housing needs are met by other organizations.
• Limited availability of sites for assisted housing.
• Cuts in HUD funding for operating subsidy, capital fund and Section 8 Vouchers over last five fiscal years.