Report #1 of the Independent Monitor

July 24, 2002

To:

  • Meghan K. Harte
  • Mary E. Wiggins

cc:

  • Richard M. Wheelock
  • Robert D. Whitfield
  • Robert J. Blazejowski
  • Zubair A. Khan
  • Robert Z. Slaughter

Our agreement provides that I will consult with representatives of CHA and CAC to convey any interim recommendations I may have for improvements to the relocation process. Accordingly, I submit the following:

  1. On July 22, 2002 I spoke by telephone with Doran Harper, Building Manager for Stateway Gardens. He told me that there are 100 families who have applied for Section 8 housing from 3542-44 South State and 3547-49 South Federal. Changing Patterns For Families has six counselors. Doran says that these counselors cannot feasibly handle the cases within the time required in an appropriate fashion. Doran believes that the number of relocation counselors should be increased to at least 12. It may well be that this problem exists at other developments.
  2. Doran also said that the CHA imposes procedures on building managers that are overly restrictive, creating difficulties in efficiently handling the relocation process. A major example is the prohibition against building managers speaking directly to representatives of CHAC. Doran believes this restriction should be abolished.
  3. After lease compliance is achieved, the property manager or the service connector notifies the relocation manager so that the residents name can then be forwarded to CHAC for Section 8 processing. In some instances that we have observed, property managers or service connectors wait until the next weekly meeting to notify the relocation manager of lease compliance. The notification should occur as soon as lease compliance is achieved. This could save a week of delay. In light of the extensive procedures required for Section 8 placement, every day counts.
  4. When the relocation manager is out of the office (vacation or sick), there should be an alternative member of the relocation staff assigned to lead the meeting. There have been many cancellations, which sets the process back.
  5. On July 17, 2002, it was brought to our attention at the Ida B. Wells team meeting that Wells residents were provided with incorrect make-ready addresses on their 90-day notices. These addresses relate to units that will be available for the resident in the event that the resident is unable to find a suitable Section 8 apartment at the expiration of the 90-day notice period. Sandra Young, Wells LAC President / CHA Commissioner, informed the Wells team that a number of residents have complained that the make-ready addresses listed on their 90-day notices contained addresses of units that were either non-existent, not made-ready, or found to contain a different number of bedrooms than they had requested on their Housing Choice Survey. Apparently, CHA personnel inserted the addresses of units that were listed on an outdated vacancy report instead of consulting with property management to determine suitable make-ready units for individual residents. This raises two concerns: 1) the haste in which the 90-day notices were generated unnecessarily caused residents to believe that make-ready will not be available for them; and 2) a breakdown in communication between CHA staff and the property management which may have caused this situation.