CHA Statement Regarding Procurement Deficiencies
CHA Publishes DRAFT Admissions and Continued Occupancy Plan for Public Comment
On May 1, 2012 Gregory P. Russ, CHA's Executive Director, participated in the Disrupting the Poverty Cycle conference organized by Crittenton and Women's Union (CWU). The conference focused on 'Emerging Practices to Achieve Economic Mobility'. In this occassion, Mr. Russ presented some reform ideas the agency is considering as it focus efforts on offering a more comprehensive housing assistance to low-income families. Mr. Russ was joined by Ms. Ruth Liberman, Vice President of Public Policy at CWU in the panel titled 'Co-Investment for Social Change: Shifting Government from Subsidizing to Investing'.
The Cambridge Housing Authority is seeking Public Housing Residents and Section 8 Participants to sit on Conference and Grievance Panels. Training for interested individuals has been scheduled for June 25 and 26th.
What is a Conference Panel?
A Conference Panel hearing is typically utilized by individuals who have been denied emergency status, terminated from the Section 8 program, denied a hardship waiver, or denied admission into public housing after reconsideration. The Conference Panel consists of a CHA Commissioner, a designee of the CHA Executive Director, and a CHA Resident or Section 8 Participant. The members of the Conference Panel determine whether the CHA’s decision was in accordance with the law, HUD regulations, and CHA policies.
What is a Grievance Panel?
A Grievance Panel hearing is available to any Public Housing resident who has a dispute with respect to the CHA’s action or failure to act in accordance with the resident’s lease or CHA rules and regulations. Typical actions include evictions, denied transfers, incorrect rent calculations, termination from the state voucher program, and legal or other adverse actions initiated by the CHA. The Grievance Panel consists of 2 representatives of the CHA, 2 CHA Residents or Section 8 Participants, and one impartial person. The members of the Grievance Panel determine whether the CHA’s action or inaction was in accordance with the law, HUD regulations, and CHA policies.
What is the time commitment?
Conference Panel Hearings take place in the morning. Grievance Panel Hearings take place in the evening. Each scheduled hearing date usually lasts from 1- 2 hours.
What training is provided?
Members of the panel are required to attend the Conference/Grievance Panel Training prior to participating as a panelist. There is a training scheduled on June 25 and 26, either for 2 evenings (Group B) or one day (Group A). Once trained, panel members will be placed on a list that the CHA’s Legal Department will rotate through for each panel. On average, an individual will be contacted once every other month to serve on a panel.
What will the training consist of?
The Conference/Grievance Training will cover the following topics:
• When Housing Benefits May Be Denied or Terminated
• Basic Elements of Due Process
• Reviewable vs. Non-reviewable Decisions
• Authority of the Conference/Grievance Panel
• Conference/Grievance Panel Hearing and Decision
• Judicial Review and Special Considerations
The CHA central office will be operating under a "summer hours" schedule from May 29th to August 31st. During this period, CHA will be open longer on Monday through Thursday, but will be open only a half-day each Friday. The schedule will be as follows:
Due to system upgrades, the CHA web site content will be temporarily frozen from 4:00 PM on Thursday, April 12th to the end of the day on Friday. This will not affect the normal operation of the web site. However, any new announcements or updates will be posted after the upgrade process is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience.
CAMBRIDGE, MA – In an unprecedented move, a group of Housing Authorities from across the nation sent a joint letter asking HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to cut costly red tape that the Housing Authorities say are making it impossible to keep critical housing programs running. “When the federal government provides us 75 cents for every dollar it takes to administer the voucher program and cuts the funding to modernize and make repairs to public housing apartments by more than 33 percent in 2 years, we simply can't afford needless bureaucracy,” said Houston Housing Authority President and CEO Tory Gunsolley, one of eleven Housing Authority leaders requesting relief from HUD. “With so much less money, now more than ever, housing authorities need the authority from HUD to put as much as possible directly into housing services.”
The group, which provides affordable housing to over 78,000 low-income families in America, is asking the Secretary to streamline processes and make it easier for them to maintain their programs in today’s difficult funding environment without hurting the low-income people they serve. Using the proposed process, each Housing Authority will be able to ask HUD to quickly allow them to cut red tape in 3 areas - resident services, housing development and operational efficiencies - as their local needs dictate. “The proposal we submit will allow us, as well as other agencies, to streamline processes and procedures without sacrificing residents’ rights or HUD’s ability to account for how each of us is using taxpayer money,” said Keith Kinard, Executive Director of the Newark Housing Authority. “Under our proposal, we can use the diminishing support we receive from HUD much more effectively to ensure we are protecting resident rights while, at the same time, freeing up taxpayer funds for programs that would otherwise be used for processes.”
The group's proposal outlines how the HUD Secretary can use existing legal authority to streamline program operations so the can that the fewer available dollars can stretch further and better address local needs. The proposed process is similar to a Department of Education initiative that grants localities flexibility from some of the one-size-fits-all requirements of the "No Child Left Behind Act." The streamlined process proposed by the group would also enable HUD to more quickly review and approve similar proposals. “Under the current system, it could take an agency as much as a year to get HUD approval to implement cost-saving measures,” said Anthony O’Leary, Executive Director of the Akron (OH) Housing Authority. “Under this proposal, agencies can take advantage of the HUD Secretary's existing legal authority to save more money faster, so that residents can be better served even in these lean times.”
The group is hopeful that given the lack of progress Congress and HUD have made on past efforts at long-overdue reform, their request will be well received by HUD officials. According to Cambridge (MA) Housing Authority Executive Director Gregory P. Russ, “Both the President and Secretary Donovan have publicly committed to eliminating senseless regulations. Cambridge already benefits from a program called Moving to Work that allows Cambridge to make our scarce federal dollars go further and focus on serving our clients. This proposal provides a way for other housing authorities to similarly benefit from cutting unnecessary red tape.” Preston Prince, Executive Director of the Housing Authorities of the City and County of Fresno (CA) adds, “This proposal is precisely what the Administration is looking for. We are providing the Department with a vehicle for cutting red tape so that we can use more of our dollars to assist low-income families that are in desperate need of our help. We are confident that HUD will seize this opportunity and run with it.”
The eleven Agencies requesting that HUD act on the proposal to cut red tape are the Akron Housing Authority (OH), the Brunswick Housing Authority (ME), the Cambridge Housing Authority (MA), the Fayette County Housing Authority (PA), the Housing Authorities of the City and County of Fresno (CA), the Houston Housing Authority (TX), the Laurinburg Housing Authority (NC), the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority VIII (MS), the Newark Housing Authority (NJ), the New Brunswick Housing & Redevelopment Authority (NJ) and the St. Paul Public Housing Agency (MN). The Agencies represent a mix of large, medium and small Housing Authorities from across the country.
Along with the proposal, the Housing Authorities have asked the Secretary for a meeting to discuss their recommendations.
General Counsel, Cambridge Housing Authority
To: All Residents
Re: MARCH 2012 - RENT STATEMENTS
Cambridge Housing Authority is experiencing problems printing
March 2012 rent statements.
DO NOT SEND IN YOUR PAYMENTS UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THE RENT STATEMENTS.
Waiting list status information is now available. As before, applicants can call 617-864-3020 (and follow the instructions) to ask for waiting list position numbers and other essential application information. CHA appreciates the patience of applicants while important updates were being made to our database system.
CHA is currently making important updates to its database system. During this time, waiting list information will not be available. An announcement regarding the availability of this information will be posted on this web site as soon as the system is again operational. We apologize for any inconvenience.
On their January 23, 2012 meeting the CHA's Board of Commissioners approved the agency's FY 2013 MTW Annual Plan.
The Annual Plan is now awaiting final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
CHA has released a draft of its FY 2013 Annual Plan for the Moving To Work Deregulation Demonstration Program.
CHA is accepting public comments on the Annual Plan. Written comments should be sent to CHA’s Central Office, 675 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments should be sent to the attention of Carolina Lucey, Senior Program Manager.
Former CHA Voucher Program Participant named a Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women 'Unsung Hero'
The Cambridge Housing Authority is now accepting submissions for its annual art contest, with a theme of Housing and Community
. The winning artwork will be displayed as the inside cover design for the CHA FY 2013 MTW Annual Plan and Report. Please download the contest guidelines and informational poster here
Mr. Gregory Russ, Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, has been asked by the Housing Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity to testify on the hearing entitled "The Section 8 Savings Act of 2011: Proposals to Promote Economic Independence for Assisted Families". As part of this hearing Mr. Russ will testify on the discussion draft of the Moving to Work Improvement, Expansion, and Permanency Act of 2011.
This hearing will take place today October 13, 2011 at 2pm EST. A live broadcast of the hearing can be accessed through the Committe's website here.
Mr. Russ' written testimony can be downloaded in .pdf format here.
Update on the Rehabilitation of 5 Western Avenue-October 2011
$1.9 million project features rooftop solar PV system, pays for itself in energy savings
Framingham, MA – July 12, 2011
– Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC), a leading energy
efficiency and renewable energy company, announced today that it has completed the
construction of the second phase of an energy performance contract with the
Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA). The $1.9 million project expands on a previous
effort that is now expected to deliver approximately $300,000 a year in utility cost
The Ameresco project focuses on energy conservation measures at the 196-unit Daniel
F. Burns Apartments in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The recently completed upgrades
include water saving retrofits, lighting efficiency improvements, roof replacement, and
installation of a new, highly efficient heat and hot water plant. The project also features
a 46 kW grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system.
“In this latest effort at Burns Apartments, we have rekindled an existing relationship with
Ameresco in order to leverage additional conservation improvements and clean,
renewable technologies,” said Greg Russ, CHA’s Executive Director. “This second
phase significantly expands our conservation efforts, provides capital improvements to
the property and also adds renewable energy technology in the rooftop solar
photovoltaics. Overall, the program pays for itself, improves the performance of the
building and creates good paying local jobs, all of which are priorities for CHA.”
Ameresco began working with CHA in 1997 to convert the building’s heat and hot water
from electricity to natural gas, and to implement basic energy efficiency needs in the
Daniel F. Burns Apartments. Together the two phases are expected to save the
equivalent of 745 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The reduction in greenhouse
gas emissions is roughly equivalent to 1,733 barrels of oil burned or 90 households
powered for an entire year.
“Ameresco is pleased to be working with Cambridge Housing Authority to maximize the
value of its energy performance contracting program at Daniel F. Burns Apartments,”
said David J. Anderson, Executive Vice President of Ameresco. “The program’s
recently completed improvements extend the value of energy savings components that
were initiated more than a decade ago. This allows the Authority to invest in new and
improved efficiency and renewable energy technologies by leveraging energy programs
available in the Commonwealth.”
Ameresco’s Public Housing Group focuses exclusively on publicly assisted multi-family
housing facilities of 50 apartments or more, which includes more than 14 million U.S.
households. By leveraging energy performance contracting, a practice pioneered by
Ameresco staff to address what HUD spends on public housing energy bills each year,
the company has helped to reduce utility costs using a performance-oriented approach
that strategically addresses equipment and systems, energy management and resident
With more than 25 years of experience, Ameresco’s affordable housing energy
specialists have executed performance contracts with project capital exceeding $450
million, more than any other North American energy services company in this sector.
As of today, Ameresco’s contracts impact over 125,000 households under performancebased
energy and water services contracts.
About Ameresco, Inc.
Ameresco, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in April 2000 and is a leading
independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy
solutions for facilities throughout North America. Ameresco’s solutions include
upgrades to a facility’s energy infrastructure, and the development, construction, and
operation of renewable energy plants. With corporate headquarters located in
Framingham, MA, Ameresco has 56 offices in 29 states and five Canadian provinces.
For more information, visit www.ameresco.com
Download the PDF here.
The Annual Report The Report chronicles the Agency's accomplishments over the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010 and ending March 31, 2011
The Fiscal Year 2011 Moving to Work Report and all previous Annual Plans and Reports can be found here
This presentation was made at the public meeting held on Thursday June 23, 2011 with updates to the redevelopment plan for the 5 Western Avenue site (formerly Cambridge Police Headquarters.
Members of Local 4 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) have been picketing at 116 Norfolk Street and are expected to begin picketing at F.J. Manning Apartments as elevator work begins there this week. The union is protesting the selection of a non-union contractor, United States Elevator, Inc., to do work at the two sites. CHA is respectful of the union’s right to disagree on the employ of US Elevator however we feel it is important to clarify statements about the process CHA used to select the contractor. Please find CHA’s point-by-point response to each allegation made against us with respect to the selection process following this statement.
US Elevator is the only contractor that submitted bids for the elevator work at the two developments. No union contractors or contractors based in Massachusetts submitted bids for the work. In January 2010, the Cambridge Housing Authority invited contractors to bid for elevator modernization work at the two public housing developments. CHA received no bids in response to the initial invitation to bid.
In February 2010, CHA issued revised bid documents. Only one bid was received for each development, both were from United States Elevator, Inc. At that time CHA also received information that raised questions around US Elevator’s ability to work in Massachusetts as well as allegations that deficiencies in our bid documents were the reason no local companies responded to CHA’s bid invitation. In response to the latter allegation, CHA had our bid documents reviewed by an independent engineering firm. The independent consultant rejected the allegation and confirmed the acceptability of the specifications included in our original invitation to bid.
With respect to issues raised about the ability of US Elevator to work in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) issued US Elevator a stop work order related to another job. The order resulted in the firm’s debarment in Massachusetts and prevented US Elevators from immediately moving forward with its CHA contract.
After administrative appeals and court intervention, it was found that the disbarment was erroneous. US Elevator was reimbursed for fines assessed by the Commonwealth, the stop work order was rescinded and US Elevator was removed from the DIA Debarment list.
CHA is a public agency and is required under Chapter 149 of state law to publicly bid all construction work over $25,000. All contractors are required to be pre-qualified by the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM). At the time of the bid, US Elevator was (and remains) a pre-qualified contractor by DCAM with a rating of 91% out of 100. A score of 80% or higher is required to be eligible to publicly bid in Massachusetts. Additionally, CHA did its own independent reference checks and received satisfactory results. Any issues with US Elevator’s qualifications for the two CHA jobs, or any other jobs in Massachusetts, should be addressed to DCAM.
CHA’s Board of Commissioners awarded a construction contract for each project to US Elevator Corporation with a total budget of $1,093,770. CHA is satisfied that it followed the law, used due diligence and awarded the contract to the lowest responsible bidder in its selection of United States Elevator, Inc. for the work at 116 Norfolk St. and F.J. Manning Apartments.
*This statement is a revised version of CHA’s April 5, 2011 statement on this same issue.
Please direct any inquiries to:
Joshua R. Meehan
Director of Communications & Policy
The Report chronicles the Agency's accomplishments over the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010 and ending March 31, 2011.
As always, CHA is accepting public comments on the Report. The public comment period begins May 5th and ends at 5:00PM on June 8th. Written comments should be sent to CHA’s Central Office, 675 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 or emailed to: email@example.com. All comments should be sent to the attention of Carolina Lucey, Senior Program Manager.
The Owner Update is a newsletter for landlords participating in CHA's Moving to Work Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8). The Update provides owners with the latest news about owner resources, changes to the program and answers to frequently asked questions. The Update is published every other month and mailed directly to owners.
CHA has partnered with The DREAM Program, Inc. to launch a youth mentoring program in CHA’s Putnam Gardens Apartments in the City’s Riverside neighborhood. CHA and DREAM hope the program will create positive, sustainable change for children living in the 119-unit development.
The DREAM program- Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring- is a long-term mentoring program, that matches dedicated mentors from local colleges and universities with children living in low-income housing developments. Unlike typical mentoring programs where mentors are matched with individual children, DREAM’s “Village Mentoring” model blends both one-to-one and group mentoring. This helps create positive peer groups within the community to help children withstand negative peer pressures and make healthy decisions. Additionally, by interacting with a large group of local college students, the children have access to a continuously growing network of individuals working to support their future success. DREAM mentors commit to stay with their mentees for the duration of their time in college. This means that each mentor is pledging to provide each child with a stable, consistent relationship, lasting three to four years.
DREAM provides college students with an opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact in children’s lives, and provides children with an opportunity to learn and explore a college campus with a positive college age role model. According to DREAM’s Boston Programs Director Chad Butt, "The relationships that form between mentors and children are the key not only to the success of our children, but to the success of our model. Kids love hanging out with college students and college students love hanging out with kids. It's that simple."
The program operates on a school calendar. Children meet with their mentors once a week during the school year, and are encouraged to remain in DREAM until they graduate from high school. One of the intrinsic challenges of DREAM’s college-based mentoring program is bridging gaps in the summer, when many mentors have commitments away from school and children have much more free time. To bridge this gap the program includes on-site summer programming facilitated by Summer Community Interns, and other special projects including adventure programming, leadership development, and large group trips.
So far DREAM has matched eight children from Putnam Gardens with student mentors from Harvard College. Mentors have already begun recruiting additional Harvard students to allow DREAM to bring more children into the Putnam Gardens program. "It is so exciting to bring DREAM to the children and families of Putnam Gardens and to partner with two amazing institutions, the Cambridge Housing Authority and Harvard College. For DREAM this is the realization of a lot of planning, hard work, and dreaming, and I am so thankful that CHA and the families at Putnam Gardens have chosen to invite us into their community," said DREAM’s Executive Director, Michael C. Loner.
The Cambridge Housing Authority is just as excited that DREAM is bringing its successful mentoring program to Putnam Gardens. “DREAM’s innovative mentoring program matches perfectly with our approach to building inclusive communities and fostering resident advancement. We are especially glad that DREAM is in Putnam Gardens, a site that we haven’t been able to offer services to kids in the past,” said CHA Executive Director Gregory P. Russ. “DREAM’s mentor model allows the kids to meet and interact and build strong relationships with each other and their mentors. We are delighted to have DREAM in Putnam Gardens.”
The House Appropriations Committee released details on the budget agreement reached by the President and Congressional leaders on Friday that averted a government shutdown. The budget cuts spending at almost every federal agency, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development.