Sarasota Housing Authority Resident's Association

Thursday, July 27, 2006

HA Board Meeting of July 19

Housing Authority of the City of Sarasota
Board of Commissioners
Regular Board Meeting, July 19

The HIPPE program has been asked to move out of Janie Poe community center.

A pre-school for public housing youngsters will be put in its place. This to serve more residents.

Three & four year old children will be provided activites. One year contract signed. If it goes well, program will be renewed on an annual basis. Will start in January, serving 20 to 46 children.

Karen Curry is writing grants for new services. Consulting with residents and resident leaders was requested. Karen will be meeting with Valerie Buchand and Jackie Diaz soon.

A Ross Training Center will be located in the JP community center. They will provide assessment, employment & employment support to help towards self sufficiency and in some cases, home ownership.

Ross will provide a broad spectrum of programs including ESL, adult literarcy, GED, job training and interview skills. Ross will be bringing employers on site. Karen is developing a partnership with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Coit Architects, Olsted Staffing, and Washington Mutual. The bank will help residents repair poor credit records, set up bank accounts. A daycare facility is planned. Home Depot and Dooley Mack have offered help with structural changes, supplies and manpower to make space usable.

Karen will be meeting with SCAT hoping to amend routes to better serve residents. Karen is working to hire a driver and a vehicle to serve resident needs.

Geneva Mays says she remembers growing up with HIPPE, they provided needed services to children in public housing, made home visits. What about children who cannot get to their new location on MLK?

She remembers residents providing lawn service, lawnmowers were given to them to pitch in. Carmen Valenti reminded her this was a new day - no longer push lawnmowers & lawsuits.

HA exploring contracting with outside companies to provide landscaping maintenance.

Contract signed to paint interiors of 50 Bertha Mitchell units. Community Foundation grant to Jewish Family Service to provide a full time case worker for public housing families in Janie Poe. She will start July 24. One resident suggested contacting Friendship Services about providing a social worker for the seniors.

HA cracking down on illegal parking with towing services. No trespassing City signs pulled down. Still, the police are enforcing the no trespassing ordinance.

Occupancy has gone from 99.3% to 100%. Turn around time prepping units is now 10 days. Record time. 579 work orders were handled in 1.5 days per w/o. Rent collections 100% in June.

Congratulations to Housing Authority and residents. Tomorrow contractor will start painting McCown Towers as well as resurfacing and restriping the parking lot. 17 units in the Courts need handrails and that will be taken care of. For those residents living on the south side of 21st Street, a 6 ft. chainlink fence will be put up to stop drivers cutting through on the grass.

Under New Business: Bill Russell, Exec Director, brought up the survey of area rents to provide new guidelines for those tenants who pay a flat rent. Most residents pay 30% of their gross income on housing, but a few (32) choose to pay a flat rent. The incentive to them was the possibility to make more income from time to time and not have to have to declare income on a monthly basis. The HA felt the flat rents were too low and hadn't been adjusted for some time. Of course, public housing units don't have central air, aren't insulated, don't offer many amenities, so rates were adjusted downward taking this into account. One bedroom elderly units will go up to $500 a mo, one bedroom in family public housing will go up to $400, 2 br to $500, 3 br to $600, 4 br to $700 and 5 br to $750. All residents can opt for the 30% formula.

This new policy will go out on August 1st for resident comments. 31 days to respond.

When redevelopment arrives in the next year to year one-half, residents need to be prepared for moving out into the community. This is why we are bringing in these resident services, Carmen Valenti, HUD Receiver, commented. There's a tremendous need for education, for amongst adults only 50% have a high school degree.

Years ago, HUD thought it would be a good match to put seniors and young disabled families together. It hasn't worked, noted Bill Russell. Now the HA will focus on seniors only buildings in time, through attrition, McCown Towers will be seniors only. Also a security guard is needed at McCown Towers more than just on weekends. Apparently homeless citizens are coming in.

Mary Anne Servian asked that this situation be documented. Since the HA cannot afford a full time guard, Russell will ask Sarasota Police for more patrolling. A new CRT police person will be located in Rosemary. Russell thanked Servian for the hiring. There's also a full time gang officer on the streets. Police have put a substation in a house on the corner of 21st & Dixie.

submitted by
Jude Levy


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