Awards & Recognition
Springfield Housing Authority designated HUD high performer
The Springfield Housing Authority has received a ‘high performer’ status from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a top rating in overall categories from financial health to physical condition and more.
While the SHA has hovered near that goal for the past decade, it is the first time the public housing organization has reached the top in recent memory, announced Executive Director William H. Abrashkin.
“We’re very happy to have this HUD stamp of approval that all of our systems are performing extremely well,” said Abrashkin. “This says that our housing authority is being well managed in all phases of its operations.
“It’s something that the housing authority has been aware of and working on for years. We’re always striving to do our best in all areas, and we have now reached that milestone,” he added.
The annual report, known as the Public Housing Assessment System or PHAS, represents an in-depth look at all aspects of a housing authority, including the physical condition of housing developments, management systems, occupancy rates, rent collections and accounts payable, financial condition and systems and capital fund program.
SHA is one of the state’s largest housing authorities, with 2,397 public housing units located at 27 sites throughout the city. The agency also administers 240 state rental vouchers and 2,893 federal housing choice vouchers, which are not included in this review.
Housing authorities are rated on a scale from one to 100, with anything in the 90s being considered high performing. In SHA’s case, the score is 90 this year.
Abrashkin said the new designation can make a housing authority eligible for a bonus in its capital funding, a reduction in certain inspection requirements, and better positioning for certain HUD grants, among other advantages.
The SHA has been working towards this goal for years, starting with problems that came close to putting the agency in receivership 15 years ago. It has been “a journey of rebuilding each of our systems and practices, step by step,” Abrashkin noted.
“This is the result of gradual, systemic and consistent improvement at all levels of the organization, and in all of our operations,” he noted.
Abrashkin also gave credit to staff, which has worked as a strong unit to ensure that every aspect of the SHA is operating smoothly.
“Total credit goes to our high-quality staff,” he said. “Everybody worked very hard for this.
“There is no magic bullet to this. It is a matter of working day by day to make sure everything is being done correctly. We’ve worked to bring everything up to a higher standard and to be sure that we are in compliance with all HUD regulations.”
Abrashkin also gave credit to the SHA’s many community partners, including the Davis Foundation, the Springfield Public Schools, the Y, the Behavioral Health Network, Partners for a Healthier Community, the Springfield Police Department and Sheriff, and many others, “and first and foremost the City of Springfield itself. Without these collaborations our programs for resident improvement and public safety would not be nearly as effective,” he said.
He added, “Our goals are for all our residents to have the benefit of decent, safe and sanitary housing, for our seniors and residents with disabilities to live independently to the extent possible, for our children to be educated, and for our families to move towards self-sufficiency.”
SHA has its administrative offices in downtown Springfield, with a total staff of 140 and an annual budget of $35 million.
Springfield Housing Authority is Massachusetts’ second largest housing authority, with 2,397 traditional public housing units located at twenty-seven sites throughout the city, 240 Massachusetts Rental Vouchers, and 2,893 Housing Choice Vouchers.
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