SHA teams up with residents to set 2015 goals

Enhancements, new resources open up opportunities for community members

By Jake LeBlanc

SHA Property Management Administrator

In setting our priority goals for this year for our Low Income Public Housing (LIPH) high-rises, Seattle Senior Housing Program (SSHP) and Scattered Sites program, we reached out to residents in the early part of 2015.
After hearing from residents in community, individual, JPAC, and RAC meetings we have set the following goals:

  • A bed bug inspection in all units
  • Removal of the pull cords in the LIPH high-rise buildings
  • A new case manager for the Scattered Sites program
  • The ability for residents to make electronic rent payments
  • Coordinated unit inspections with fewer disruptions
  • Evaluation of how we can better serve our aging resident population
  • Budget input meetings in all LIPH high-rises and SSHP buildings
  • Increased focus on security
  • Improvements in our Seattle Police Department contract

Meeting the goals

In a continuation of our goal to address bed bug issues, we will complete bed bug inspections in more than 4,800 units in 2015 including all LIPH high-rises, all SSHP units and all Scattered Sites units. Through this work we will be able to better understand the breadth of the problem and establish a plan for addressing the situation. The work is currently scheduled to begin in July. We encourage residents to report any suspected bed bug issues.

When pull cords (the emergency cord typically located in each unit bathroom) were first installed in high-rise units more than 40 years ago, they were state-of-the- art technology. However, with the advent of the 911 emergency response system, wearable emergency alert pendants and other technologies, pull cords have become obsolete and SHA cannot effectively respond to pull cords to ensure resident safety. We are fortunate in Seattle to have a nationally recognized emergency response system. If residents need serious help in their units, their best course of action is to call 911. That will trigger the most timely and comprehensive response.

After some successful pilots earlier in the year, the work of removing the pull cords more widely will begin this summer. SHA will provide residents with more information and notices based on their buildings.

As part of our eviction-prevention efforts, we were fortunate to secure funding to develop case management support for the residents of the Scattered Sites program. Having a case manager in place will help us to stabilize the housing of those residents who are most vulnerable and at risk of losing their housing. We are aiming to have the case manager in place by this June or July.

On April 1, SHA began accepting electronic rent payments from residents who prefer to pay using electronic banking services. By enabling automatic payments instead of the previous method in which a paper check was mailed to SHA by the banks, resident payments will be immediately deducted, while preventing an accidental overdrawing of accounts.

By providing the convenience of this method of rent payment, many more residents should be able to avoid late fees. More information on this process will be shared with residents in the coming months.

We have consistently heard from residents that they would like us to coordinate necessary unit inspections so as to limit the number of entries. To address this, in early 2015 we piloted coordination of multiple types of inspections at Harvard Court, West Town View and Queen Anne Heights
We conducted work over a short period of time to achieve efficiencies and reduce inspection impacts on residents. This included removal of pull cords, bedbug inspections, annual unit inspections and fire alarm testing. We will use what we have learned to better plan for these projects over the course of the year.

We are currently exploring the potential for increased partnerships with healthcare professionals to determine what types of services we might be able to bring to senior residents to help them maintain quality of life while remaining in their current housing.

SHA Property Management staff held community meetings at each of the LIPH high-rise and SSHP buildings to discuss the 2016 SHA budget. We are also inviting residents and others to take part in an online version of the budget exercise (see story on page 1). In this process we are gathering residents’ views on priorities that will inform us as we prepare our 2016 budget.

Providing safety and security to all our residents is important to us. With the conversion of most of the SSHP units to the LIPH program, we have been able to secure capital funding to start addressing such needs as ACAM entry devices and security cameras with DVR recording capability in the SSHP buildings and improvements to exterior lighting at some buildings. We also plan to have a security consultant review LIPH properties to make security recommendations.

SHA has a contract with the Seattle Police Department to provide Crime Intervention Team officer coverage in many of our buildings. We are excited to announce changes to that contract. We will now have four officers working with SHA and one of the four will provide evening coverage. These officers are now called SHA Liaison Officers and they will be able to work across SPD precincts lines. They have a dedicated supervisor to manage this team.

SHA would like to thank all residents and staff for their ideas, and for their help in making these ideas a reality!

Leave a Comment