PCHA Board Elects Officers at Annual Meeting

The PCHA Board of Commissioners held their annual board meeting and elected officers for 2010-2011.

Joseph Triolo, rehabilitation officer with the City of St. Petersburg Housing and Community Development, was re-elected as Chairman of the Board for a term of one year. Chairman Triolo has been serving in this capacity since October 2009.

Angela Rouson was named Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners. From July 2006 through April 2009, she served as the Board’s Chair.

The five-member Board of Commissioners, appointed by the Governor, is responsible for oversight and policy-making for the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA). Commissioners are volunteers who serve four-year terms. PCHA Board of Commissioners meetings are open to the public and are held at the Dean S. Robinson Administration Building, located at 11479 Ulmerton Road in Largo, unless otherwise indicated.

PCHA Opens New Home Ownership Resource Center!

Owning a home seems out of reach for so many people, especially in today’s economy. Even with declining home prices, for many in affordable and assisted housing, the dream of owning their own home is just that – a dream. Rabon Sanders knows all too well about circumstances getting in his way for the proverbial American Dream. Self-employed for 23 years, owning an accounting business and then consumer electronics business, Sanders had it all: family, career, success, health. And then a rare disease called Post-Polio Syndrome from a sickness he had when he was three years old, caused his body to gradually weaken until he lost his ability to walk. Not only did he lose his ability to walk, he lost his health, his family, his business and his money.

Disabled and on a fixed income, for the last 12 years, Sanders lived in public housing. He said “I lost my pride and my hope.” After he began participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program Sanders began pursuing a variety of first time home buyers programs through local government agencies. Eventually he received approval for assistance from the City of St. Petersburg’s WIN program after taking steps necessary to meet the qualifications of the program. Still, his mortgage payment would eat up a very large portion of his monthly income, making homeownership difficult on his fixed income. When PCHA recently reignited its Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program,Sanders was ready to go.

Sanders says he “can’t say enough about the PCHA’s home ownership program. I’m so grateful that they took the initiative to open it back up.” Now that he is settled into his new home, he has taken on the task of helping others reach similar goals that he has had the privilege of achieving through beneficial programs such as PCHA’s.

Because June is National Home Ownership month and he has such a fascinating life journey, Sanders was recognized at the June Board meeting as an inspiration to others and as the first homeowner since PCHA’s program was reinstated. Speaking to PCHA’s Board he said, “I just appreciate your efforts tremendously. It’s a time when there are opportunities that many people can take advantage of. I’m proud to live where I do and I haven’t had that pride of living quarters for quite a long time.”

He thanked Executive Director Debbie Johnson and the Board and said, “It’s unbelievably wonderful. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

On June 1st, PCHA opened its Homeownership Resource Center, located at 11479 Ulmerton Road in Largo. The Center houses information about local and state homeownership programs, first time homebuyer information and the HCV Homeownership Program for HCV participants. The Center is open to the public. For more information about PCHA’s Homeownership Resource Center and programs, please call the Resident Services and Programs Department at 727-443-7684, ext. 3046.

PCHA Showcases ARRA Improvements

jesslyn alicia and family

PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA – Yesterday, the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) held a ceremony to recognize capital improvements completed at their public housing properties, made possible by the funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The event was held at French Villas Apartments, a PCHA public housing community in unincorporated Pinellas County, where many improvements were visibly showcased from new steel entry doors and energy efficient and impact resistant windows to new stair rails and exterior painting.

The program was opened by an expression of gratitude from Angela Rouson, Vice- Chair of the PCHA Board of Commissioners, regarding the $1.3 million in funding received from US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Commissioner Rouson stated “We are holding this event today to:

  1. Publicly express our appreciation for the ARRA funds that PCHA received;
  2. To share with you our use of the funds and the impact on the community; and to
  3. Express the importance of future funding for the public housing and capital fund programs as there will always be people in need of low-income housing”

Joseph Triolo, PCHA Board Chairman welcomed those in attendance and introduced guest speaker Marcel Charpentier, Operations Specialist for HUD who stated “It is an honor to be at French Villas and to see the improvements which will help increase the quality of life. We can see the tangible results at French Villas, Rainbow Village and Lakeside Terrace.” He also mentioned that not only was he proud of the improvements and the property, but he was proud of the PCHA. “PCHA was selected as a High Performer and that’s not easy to do. PCHA not only received over $1.3 million in funding for improvements, but will also receive over $895K in 2010 for their continued dedication in building and improving their communities.”

State Representative Janet Long of District 51 said she was thrilled to witness the results of ARRA, and that the funding is working and being wisely spent. She graciously thanked President Obama and her colleagues in the Legislature for the stimulus funding so that improvements so desperately needed, such as these, could be made in Pinellas County.

State Representative Rick Kriseman of District 53, State Representative Jim Frishe of District 54, and State Representative Darryl Rouson of District 55 were also in attendance.

State Representative Jim Frishe said, “This is what makes affordable housing work.”

State Representative Rick Kriseman hopes that “projects like these spark renewed interest in our housing properties.”

State Representative Darryl Rouson echoed their sentiments and congratulated PCHA on its accomplishments.

Jesslyn Alicea, 15, accompanied by her parents and siblings, and resident of French Villas expressed her gratitude for the improvements made to French Villas, the community she calls home. She said, “As a teenager, it’s important for me to be proud of where I live. Now, I am happy to say that these improvements made our property pretty and most importantly safe.” She specifically thanked President Obama and US HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Stanley Mercier, resident of French Villas, has lived there for 13 years. He expressed gratitude for the improvements and said they were “desperately needed and make for a better living environment and better community.”

PCHA Executive Director Debbie Johnson commended the PCHA Board of Commissioners for their continued commitment to the preservation of low income housing in Pinellas County. She also stressed the importance of continued HUD funding for low income housing and talked about future capital improvement plans for French Villas.

jesslyn alicia and family

The following projects were completed due to ARRA funding:

Project Name: Exterior Painting at French Villas
Contract Value: $62,726.00
Site: French Villas 6835 54th Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33709

Project Name: Railing Replacement and Stairwell Repairs at French Villas
Contract Value: $264,745.00
Site: French Villas 6835 54th Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33709

Project Name: Rainbow Village Energy Star HVAC
Contract Value: $95,508.23
Site: Rainbow Village 12301 134th Avenue N Largo, FL 33774

Project Name: Door, Window and Handrail Replacement at Lakeside Terrace Apartments
Contract Value: $413,977.00
Site: Lakeside Terrace Apartments 4200 62nd Avenue North Pinellas Park, FL 33781

Project Name: Exterior Painting, Soffit, Gutters
Contract Value: $64,484.00
Site: Lakeside Terrace Apartments 4200 62nd Avenue North Pinellas Park, FL 33781

Project Name: Door and Window Replacement at French Villas Apartments
Contract Value: $453,310.53
Site: French Villas 6835 54th Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33709

PCHA Receives Awards at Statewide Housing Conference

The Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (FAHRO) recently awarded the PCHA with a 2010 Best Practices Award for Implementing Green Initiatives. Since 2009 when PCHA’s Board of Commissioners committed to becoming more environmentally conscious by incorporating “Implementing Green Initiatives” as part of the agency’s 5-year Strategic Plan, the PCHA has been actively seeking ways to implement energy efficiency standards and other “green” efforts to reduce the agency’s environmental footprint.

Highlights over the last year:

  • PCHA received a Green Business Partnership certification by Pinellas County, Florida in June 2010 for a voluntary assessment that recognizes businesses for their environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. The partnership encourages conservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings.
  • A “Green Procurement Policy” was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on the May 26, 2010 Board meeting encouraging purchases of products and services that will minimize any negative environmental impacts of agency’s work. PCHA will support its environmental commitment through this new policy.
  • PCHA became a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) in May 2010. The FGBC continues to lead efforts to promote green building and sustainable development in Florida.
  • Employees of PCHA are taking action in this green initiative learning. PCHA staff completed a twelve week National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Green Remodeling Education course in March 2010. In addition, ten employees received University of Florida’s Green Advantage certification.
  • PCHA approached Progress Energy and Tampa Electric (TECO) and requested energy inspections at each of the public and affordable housing properties under the agency’s jurisdiction. Both electric companies sent inspectors who determined improvements that would help save on tenant energy bills, repair costs on equipment and ultimately, protect the environment. All improvements were completed and much of the cost was paid for by the energy companies with little or no cost to PCHA.

The implementation of green initiatives is part of PCHA’s overall goal of maintaining quality housing for its residents while furthering its commitment to a sustainable future. PCHA’s green initiatives encourage conservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings. Energy savings will continue for both the Authority and residents.

In July, the PCHA was nationally recognized by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for an Award of Merit in Housing and Community Development for Energy Efficiency and Going Green Implementation.

About Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA):

Formed in 1965 and governed by a five member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida, the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) provides housing and rental assistance to a total of more than 4,500 families in Pinellas County. The authority is proud to be rated by HUD as a “High Performing” agency. More information about the authority’s programs and services can be found at www.pinellashousing.com.

About Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (FAHRO):

FAHRO was established nearly 70 years ago as a means of exchanging information for the purpose of improving low income and affordable housing and community services. Since then, FAHRO has grown to represent more than 200 housing agencies, community development agencies, and associate members who work together to ensure that all of Florida’s citizens have clean, safe, and sanitary housing. More information about FAHRO can be found at www.fahro.org.

PCHA Receives Awards at Statewide Housing Conference

Best Practices

Best PracticesThe Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (FAHRO) recently awarded the PCHA with a 2010 Best Practices Award for Implementing Green Initiatives. Since 2009 when PCHA’s Board of Commissioners committed to becoming moreenvironmentally conscious by incorporating “Implementing Green Initiatives” as part of theagency’s 5-year Strategic Plan, the PCHA has been actively seeking ways to implement energyefficiency standards and other “green” efforts to reduce the agency’s environmental footprint.

• PCHA received a Green Business Partnership certification by Pinellas County, Florida inJune 2010 for a voluntary assessment that recognizes businesses for theirenvironmental stewardship and sustainable practices. The partnership encouragesconservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings.

Highlights over the last year:

• PCHA received a Green Business Partnership certification by Pinellas County, Florida inJune 2010 for a voluntary assessment that recognizes businesses for theirenvironmental stewardship and sustainable practices. The partnership encouragesconservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings.

• A “Green Procurement Policy” was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on the May26, 2010 Board meeting encouraging purchases of products and services that willminimize any negative environmental impacts of agency’s work. PCHA will support itsenvironmental commitment through this new policy.

• PCHA became a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) in May 2010.The FGBC continues to lead efforts to promote green building and sustainabledevelopment in Florida.

• Employees of PCHA are taking action in this green initiative learning. PCHA staffcompleted a twelve week National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s GreenRemodeling Education course in March 2010. In addition, ten employees receivedUniversity of Florida’s Green Advantage certification.

• PCHA approached Progress Energy and Tampa Electric (TECO) and requested energyinspections at each of the public and affordable housing properties under the agency’sjurisdiction. Both electric companies sent inspectors who determined improvements thatwould help save on tenant energy bills, repair costs on equipment and ultimately, protectthe environment.

All improvements were completed and much of the cost was paid forby the energy companies with little or no cost to PCHA.The implementation of green initiatives is part of PCHA’s overall goal of maintaining quality housing for its residents while furthering its commitment to a sustainable future. PCHA’s greeninitiatives encourage conservation of resources, waste reduction, energy conservation and cost savings. Energy savings will continue for both the Authority and residents.In July, the PCHA was nationally recognized by the National Association of Housing andRedevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for an Award of Merit in Housing and CommunityDevelopment for Energy Efficiency and Going Green Implementation.About Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA):Formed in 1965 and governed by a five member Board of Commissioners appointed by theGovernor of the State of Florida, the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) provideshousing and rental assistance to a total of more than 4,500 families in Pinellas County. The authority is proud to be rated by HUD as a “High Performing” agency. More information aboutthe authority’s programs and services can be found at www.pinellashousing.com.About Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (FAHRO):FAHRO was established nearly 70 years ago as a means of exchanging information for thepurpose of improving low income and affordable housing and community services. Since then, FAHRO has grown to represent more than 200 housing agencies, community developmentagencies, and associate members who work together to ensure that all of Florida’s citizens haveclean, safe, and sanitary housing. More information about FAHRO can be found at www.fahro.org.