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Summary of Comments & DHA Responses

FY 2021-2025 5-Year PHA Plan Related Comments

  • Comment: Under the Operational Efficiency Goal, consider employee training when implementing improved job descriptions and performance measures.
    • Response: Language inserted.

  • Comment: Under the Operational Efficiency Goal, there is an objective to apply for the MTW program that offers no new funding, this seems inconsistent with the top priority of repairing units.
    • Response: The Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration program is a 10-year designation. The MTW designation does not eliminate DHA's priority to maintain/repair its units and will remain a priority of the Agency. The MTW program will help to reduce administrative burden, freeing up administrative staff time to take up other initiatives and/or programs. 

  • Comment: Under the Resident Driven Goal consider training/orientations for the Resident Councils.
    • Response: Training is already in the plan, orientation language added.

  • Comment: Under the Wraparound Resident Support's objective to form stronger alliances with the schools by establishing data sharing agreements, consider including postsecondary schools like community colleges and 4-year institutions.
    • Response: DHA's goal with data sharing agreements with Durham Public Schools is to undertake steps to develop and integrate collaborative programs into its resident services that improve educational outcomes for public housing youth, especially as a result of COVID19. DHA's intention is to create pipelines for residents who wish to attend community colleges and/or 4-year institutions, and confirm resources for financial assistance; however, we are only in preliminary conversations and will have to continue work to firm up commitments with these institutions for the benefit of our residents and will do this work as capacity permits. 

  • Comment: Consider including mental health and substance abuse in the wraparound resident supports, as well as physical health and youth mental health. Also consider this proactively in relocation plans.
    • Response: DHA's goal is to be resident driven, where the residents establish the priorities for the support programs. In previous discussions, resident leaders did not prioritize health related initiatives. However, DHA recognizes it as a priority for support programs, and has inserted language that the resident priorities may include this. DHA will continue to work with community partners to provide referrals for services.

      DHA may consider ways to incorporate mental and physical health referrals when discussing relocation with residents. DHA is always looking to partner with community organizations with the requisite expertise and available resources to expand our resident offerings. However, it should be noted that DHA does not receive funding that will allow in house expertise to address these issues independently. 

  •  Comment: DHA should include Trauma Informed Care when providing assistance to residents.
    • Response: DHA may consider this when developing its customer service program; however, we would like to continue discussions on what this model should look like. DHA is always looking to partner with community organizations with the requisite expertise and available resources to expand our resident offerings. However, it should be noted that DHA does not receive funding that will allow in house expertise to address these issues independently.

  • Comment: Under the Accountability goal consider a community oversight committee.
    • Response: All seven members of our Board of Commissioners are members of the Durham community, and provide oversight of the Agency, including a mandatory seat for a DHA resident. 

      Additionally, there is a provision in our current structure that allows for resident agency, and strengthening it is included in our current goals; to work with and strengthen our Resident Councils that form our Resident Advisory Board (RAB). The RAB plays an integral role in advising on agency operations and we want to strengthen their voice. When working with the councils and RAB, they may welcome resident/community advocates into their meetings and work.

  • Comment: Current website not completely accessible from a mobile phone.
    • Response: As mentioned in the 5-Year Plan, the Agency plans to develop a new website. Language added that the new website will be accessible from a mobile device.

  • Comment: The plan seems ambitious, lots in 2021.
    • Response: Many of the items listed as goals for 2021 are already in the works, and necessary to recover the Agency. Under a Recovery Agreement with HUD, the Agency would only have two (2) years to show substantial improvement, this is why some of the timelines were proposed. Dates have been removed from the 5-Year Plan, as they are not required. This will allow the agency flexibility in the timeframes to complete the goals if it's needed.

  • Comment: DHA should consider adding more detail including shorter-term goals and milestones that would help the Agency meet its goals.
    • Response: Strategic Plan-like goals suit the purposes of what HUD is asking the Agency to provide in a 5-Year PHA Plan. More detailed plans are considered action plans, and are not required elements of the PHA Plan, but something the Agency develops separately.

Annual PHA Plan Related Comments

  • Comment: Tenant revenue in the Estimated Financial Resources section of the plan seems way higher than before. Include city funds in the Financial Resources in the Plan.
    • Response: There was an error in the estimated resources which overstated a line in the estimated tenant revenues, it has been corrected. Estimated city funds for 2021 have been added to the chart.

  • Comment: The mention of Jobs Plus does not state the place or the program goals.
    Hoover Road residents may not be aware of the ROSS program, or the GROW program on DHA's website.
    • Response: McDougald Terrace has been added to the verbiage; however the statement includes the goals of the program. More information will be available on DHA's website.
      DHA will remove programs no longer in existence from its website and work internally to ensure ROSS grant communities are aware of the program. 

  • Comment: Crime and safety- Hoover Rd. residents desire increased communication with the police. DHA did not include its new procedure for dealing with trespassed individuals as an exhibit to the plan.
    • Response: DHA will facilitate connections with the Durham Police Department at its Hoover Rd. resident meetings. When Crime Taskforce meetings resume, the Hoover Rd. RAB 
    •  Member and/or resident council will be advised of such to attend and have direct access to the police department, sheriff's department, and highway patrol along with other resident leaders.
      The internal procedure for dealing with trespassed individuals is not a required element of the plan.
  • Comment: DHA should consider partnering with the City of Durham's Neighborhood Improvement Services in piloting a Proactive Inspection program to inspect all occupied DHA properties. This suggestion was also considered as a means to ensure completion repair issues timely.
    • Response: DHA will continue the use of inspectors certified in HUD's Uniform Physical Conditions Standards (UPCS) to inspect its units and report out in a format that aligns with HUD's standards, which include the standards that local inspectors use. A key priority is ensuring that the necessary repairs required as a result of those inspections are completed, this is part of DHA's priorities for recovery.

  • Comment: Request for additional vouchers for the CoC and/or to remove the cap for Permanent Supportive Housing.
    • Response: This will be considered with Significant Amendments to the FY 2021 PHA Plan.

  • Comment: Consider opportunities to add more Project-Based Vouchers to new construction developments in Durham.
    • Response: Language added.

  • Comment: DHA should consider bond funds for deferred maintenance at older existing Public Housing communities.
    • Response: The Affordable Housing Bond has allowed DHA to prioritize all of its Capital Funds for capital repairs in its public housing communities. 

  • Comment: Concerns about how Mixed Finance Modernization and Development activities support the priority of responding to communities in need of repair.
    • Response: The priority of responding to communities in need of repair is mentioned in the Asset Management section of the plan as a first priority of our Property Operations/Asset Management team. Our development activities are managed by the Development Department which has no responsibility for repairs.

  • Comment: Questions about RAD CHAPs, and Capital Fund 5-Year Action Plan.
    • Response: This information has been cleared up in the plan, clearly listing current properties with CHAPs, and which properties are converting in 2021 specifically. The Capital Fund 5-Year Action Plan has not been modified in this planning period.

  • Comment: There was a question about Elizabeth Street Apartment's one for one unit replacement.
    • Response: One for one replacement will occur in future phases of the RAD conversion of Liberty and/or 519 E. Main St. Language has been added to the plan to clarify that.

General Plan Comments

  • Comment: There are documents required for public inspection that are not on DHA's website.
    • Response: Documents required in the submission of PHA plan that are not available in the draft plans, are documents DHA collects later in the process (i.e. RAB comments can be received through the end of the comment period, certifications are received later in the process in etc.) even based on HUD's guidance/requirements. Several of the documents mentioned are not required for the plan but are documents that are being requested for our website. Many of the documents were previously provided to the requestor, others will be placed on DHA's website. 

      There have been specific requests for a listing of DHA's RAB members. DHA provided a listing indicating what communities have representation on the RAB, while we seek legal advice on resident privacy concerns. While HUD mentions in one place to provide this information, there are codified resident privacy protections in others. Once we confirm with counsel it is ok to disregard resident privacy protections for RAB members, DHA will provide this information.

  • Comment: DHA should hold regular RAB meetings, provide the RAB with the means to carryout business (including laptops), and the CEO should personally invite active residents from Hoover to be on the RAB. DHA should also incentivize the RAB and resident council's participation. There were also several other recommendations for the RAB.
    • Response: DHA may schedule presentations to the RAB to receive their input and suggestions on proposals, and in plan development; however, the RAB schedules its own regular meetings with their own Agendas, that DHA may request to be a part of. 

      As mentioned in DHA's draft 5-Year Plan, DHA has an objective to work to ensure that every Public Housing community has a fully established resident council (all officer positions filled). As part of that objective DHA also plans to work closer with the RAB and resident councils to encourage the scheduling of regular meetings, which can be posted on DHA's website. We will also work with the councils to advise on how to hold these meetings in light of COVID-19, as well as the resources necessary to do so. We will also remind the councils that the fully established resident councils (with at least 5 officers) have access to HUD's tenant participation funding, a resource to purchase telephones, laptops, iPads, internet access, as well as refreshments and to pay for stipends. DHA also mentioned in its plan the objective to provide free or reduced internet to all of its family sites which could also assist with access to the internet. DHA may also consider other means of providing these resources as they are available.

      Resident Council members are duly elected residents of the community in which they reside. The presidents of those councils become members of the RAB. We will strongly encourage the Hoover Road residents, and other residents who have demonstrated their passion to serve their community, to run for election to their respective Resident Council, where the duly elected president will be on the RAB. Other recommendations may be considered in the RAB and Resident Council trainings.

We also received comments about meetings, operational issues, and procedures not included in the plan that were considered and/or addressed internally as necessary.

DHA's primary focus in the first, and possibly second year of this plan, is to respond to the changes necessitated by COVID-19, and recovering its Public Housing Programs. There are many things the Agency wants to do; however we are focusing on what we are required to do. Some comments received will be taken into consideration in the future, or incorporated into departmental action planning. We appreciate the engagement of the community, and look forward to continuing the conversations.

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