PHADA President David A. Northern, Sr.
I was delighted to host PHADA’s Board of Trustees and staff for a strategic planning session in Houston from October 17–19. I really appreciate the commitment and dedication of Board members who took the time out of their busy schedules to help plan for the future of our organization and the entire industry.
This is a tumultuous time as we face a lot of changes and executive director turnover, not to mention coming political and budgetary challenges that are on the horizon. All this is occurring during a pandemic that has generated major supply chain delays and rising inflation that has posed many additional challenges for all sectors of the economy.
The idea behind the Houston session was to develop a plan for the next few years and I think we succeeded in that regard. We focused on the three major areas of PHADA’s work: member services; professional development; and advocacy.
In the area of member services, the discussion centered on the need to use tools such as social media and webinars even more to provide our members information and materials they need to successfully administer their agencies. With so many new executive directors entering the field, we will be doing more to educate them on how to address their local housing needs and inform them what PHADA can do to make their work even more productive.
There was a good deal of focus in Houston about the need to help those HAs that are pivoting away from traditional public housing using various repositioning tools. A major objective of the coming years will be to develop even more training curricula on new development initiatives and managing operations under HUD’s multifamily programs, among other objectives.
Not surprisingly, we spent the most time on budget and policy concerns that we will confront in the 118th congressional session that will convene in just two months. PHADA leaders recognize the major fiscal challenges facing the country including the $31 trillion of accumulated U.S. debt and persistent inflation. More federal money will be needed just to cover escalating interest payments and growing entitlement costs such as Medicare. This could very well mean there is considerably less funding available for housing and other domestic programs and flat line budgets may be a best-case scenario. In this event, HAs will need much more local flexibility and fungibility to successfully administer their programs. For obvious reasons, this matter will be a major priority of PHADA’s leadership in the next congressional session.
This is just a brief synopsis of what transpired in our meeting. PHADA’s various committees and staff will be further developing the ideas and concepts we discussed and we will provide more follow-up information to members. In the meantime, if you want, please feel free to share your own ideas and with me, other members or the PHADA staff. Thank you.
Local Government Leaders Demonstrate Their Support
We were honored that the Houston HA Board Chairman LaRence Snowden addressed the group and spoke about the ways the city and HHA have partnered to reduce homelessness while Mayor Sylvester Turner and two local U.S. Representatives, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Al Green (D-TX), came by to voice their support of affordable housing. The elected leaders shared their involvement in public housing policy matters and the critical need for affordable housing locally and throughout the nation.
PHADA Trustees and staff also participated in our guided tour to three of HHA’s most significant communities: Cuney Homes, Allen Parkway Village/Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway Village, and 2100 Memorial. We shared the historical significance of Houston’s established properties and the continuous work the agency is doing to restore the senior living community at 2100 Memorial that was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. The tour gave PHADA leaders perspective on the impactful history of affordable housing in the city and the vision for progress demonstrated by the new construction.