The Springfield Housing Authority is going to share its expertise with the Peoria Housing Authority. Rather than hire a new executive director, the PHA is temporarily calling on the SHA to address deficiencies.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has rated the Peoria Housing Authority as substandard since 2011. But the SHA is labeled a high performer. The Springfield Housing Authority will manage the PHA for at least the next twelve months.
Board members yesterday shared concerns about the PHA’s occupancy rate with the SHA’s executive director. Board chair Jim Fassino says the PHA’s rate is 88.7 percent, well short of HUD’s recommended 97 percent level.
“Once you achieve that level you get 100% of the money that HUD has available. When we’re operating now at less than 90%, there’s money that should be coming to Peoria that is not,” Fassino said. “But the human side of that is that means that one out of every ten apartments isn’t being occupied by people who could be living in a better environment.”
The SHA exceeds 97 percent occupancy. SHA executive director Jackie Newman spoke with the PHA Board in a special meeting Monday. She says there’s a list of things the PHA board would like addressed.
Newman says that includes, “occupancy, getting rent paid on time and then just determining the course of action of development. What’s best for this city, what does the city officials want to see, what do the neighborhoods want to see, what does Peoria want to see and try to work as cohesively as we possibly can.”
Newman says she will address not only the low PHA occupancy rate but also the shortfall in housing choice vouchers. The PHA has used fewer than 1,600 of the allotted 1,900 vouchers, a program formerly called Section eight housing.