PHA commissioners are faced with stepping into an environment and industry that is wildly complex and ever changing. While commissioners attend numerous trainings to become effective industry leaders, they can often feel overwhelmed with all this new knowledge.
That’s where the executives and staff of the PHA come in. Every PHA should be completely dedicated to supporting their commissioners and partnering with them, for the success of the community.
Keep in mind that the board of commissioners, is a governing body for a PHA. It is legally and financially responsible to their agency, so it is important that EVERYONE understands commissioner roles and responsibilities. This is an incredibly important job and requires the cooperation of the agency. The best things agencies can do to support their commissioners in this specific area is to
- Provide monthly reports in a timely manner
- Ensure you are doing everything to maximize your funding and utilization rates.
There is a series of monthly reports every agency should be running in order to stay informed on the status of their overall health. Providing these reports to your commissioners ensures that they have access to all the information they need to stay up to date on the financial status of the PHA. These reports will provide a big picture look at the agency’s monthly income and expenses and allows them to compare and contrast the numbers from one month to the next, enabling them to stay ahead of any shortfalls.
This list of reports should include:
- VMS Summary Report
- PIH PIC Reports
- Various summary reports on informal hearings, housing deficiencies, and customer service complaints
Keeping the agency financially solvent includes overseeing outreach requirements, ensuring that the PHA meets voucher issuance goals, and utilizing the most funding possible.
Keep in mind that future funding is based on your current utilization, so you want to ensure that you are doing absolutely everything possible to increase your lease-up rates and maximize every dollar coming into your agency. To be successful, commissioners need to be well-informed of where their PHA stands with funding and utilization rates. Both commissioners and PHAs need to be ready to offer creative solutions for any shortfalls.
You, as a PHA, should to be open to the suggestions and direction of your commissioners. The more families you can house, the more funding you will receive, and the more you can do for your community going forward.
Commissioners also have the vital role of upholding the perception of their agencies in the community. . If the community has a negative perception of your agency and programs, it can ultimately affect the families it serves. As such, commissioners should approve policies for PHAs to advance a positive image and enhance goodwill in their jurisdiction. The best way for PHAs to support commissioners in this difficult task is by ensuring high quality service and operations through everyone’s favorite tool… quality control!
We all are well-acquainted with quality control, so we don’t need to go too far down that road, however, your commissioners should be aware of your QC schedule; be given access to the results with vital information prioritized, and expect a clearcut plan from your agency leadership for any necessary corrective actions. Make sure you provide all that is necessary for your commissioners to stay adequately informed.
The commissioner’s leadership status also means they have to speak up when they have concerns and not just approve what is proposed at meetings. Not taking an active part in approving proposed changes can allow for faulty housing policies to be implemented. Ask for their feedback. They may be able to identify outdated policies and procedures adopted by your agency that may no longer serve your community well. The board is also charged with helping to prevent and end homelessness in your community. This is the ultimate role of support for a commissioner. Establishing policies and procedures that drive to the core of our collective work, by supporting safe, decent, affordable housing.
Commissioners should have easy access to PHA leadership and regularly scheduled meetings on an as-needed basis. They should be able to ask any questions and get any information they need to stay up to date on agency operations and fulfill their roles successfully at all times.
Establishing a good relationship with your commissioners will help you advance the work you are tasked with doing and help you to work better together when it really matters.
You are a team working toward the same goal…to advance the mission and vision of HUD, which is to provide safe and quality housing to those in need. That vision can become a reality only when you support each other and work together.
Don’t let complexity and change in the housing industry overwhelm you. Our team of experts is dedicated to supporting commissioners and maximizing success for your community. Contact us today to take the first step towards a brighter future for your agency.