IMPORTANT NOTICE

Please be advised that the Lowell Housing Authority will stop accepting standard applications for the State Public Housing Program effective March 17, 2017.   After a review of the waiting list, it has been determined that current applicants could wait up to seven (7) years before being assisted.  The LHA will continue to monitor the situation and will re-open the waiting lists when wait times are reduced. 

 

Please note that the Authority continues to accept applications for zero (0) – six (6) bedroom Federal Public Housing units.  Applications are accepted at 21 Salem Street, Lowell, MA.  For additional information, please contact Kevin Forsley at (978) 364-5361.

 

EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY

 


 

 

 

AUTORIDAD DE VIVIENDA DE LOWELL


 


AVISO IMPORTANTE



Le informamos que la Autoridad de Vivienda de Lowell dejará de aceptar solicitudes estándar para el Programa de Vivienda Pública del Estado a partir del 17 de marzo de 2017.   Después de analizar la lista de espera, se ha determinado que los solicitantes actuales podrían llegar a esperar hasta siete (7) años para ser asistidos.  La LHA seguirá supervisando la situación y volverá a abrir las listas de espera cuando se reduzcan los tiempos de espera. 


Tenga en cuenta que LHA sigue aceptando solicitudes para unidades de vivienda pública federal de cero (0) a seis (6) dormitorios.  Las solicitudes se recibirán en 21 Salem Street, Lowell, MA.  Para obtener información adicional, comuníquese con Kevin Forsley al (978) 364-5361.


IGUALDAD DE OPORTUNIDADES DE VIVIENDA


 

ក្រុមអាជ្ញាលំនៅដ្ឋាន LOWELL

 

 

 

សេចក្តីជូនដំណឹងសំខាន់

 

 

 

សូមជ្រាបថា​ក្រុមអាជ្ញាលំនៅដ្ឋាន Lowell នឹងបញ្ឈប់ទទួល​ទម្រង់​បែបបទ បទដ្ឋាន សម្រាប់​កម្មវិធីលំនៅដ្ឋាន​សាធារណៈរដ្ឋ មានប្រសិទ្ធិភាព ថ្ងៃទីទី​ 17 ខែមិនា ឆ្នាំ 2017 ។   បន្ទាប់​ពីការពិនិត្យបញ្ជីរង់ចាំសារឡើងវិញ វា​ត្រូវបានសម្រេច​ថា អ្នកដាក់ពាក្យសុំ​បច្ចុប្បន្ន​ អាចរង់ចាំ​រហូតដល់ប្រាំពីរ (7) ឆ្នាំ​មុន​នឹងទទួលបាន ជំនួយ ។  LHA នឹងបន្តត្រួតពិនិត្យ​ស្ថានភាព និង​ធ្វើអោយ​បញ្ជីរង់ចាំ​​សកម្ម​ម្តង​ទៀត នៅពេល​ពេលវេលារង់ចាំ​ត្រូវបាន​កាត់បន្ថយ ។ 

 

សូមសំគាល់ទុកថា​ក្រុមអាជ្ញា​បន្ត​ទទួល​ទម្រង់បែបបទ​សម្រាប់​អង្គភាព​លំនៅដ្ឋាន សាធារណៈសហព័ន្ធ សម្រាប់​សូន្យ (0) រហូត​ដល់ប្រាំមួយ (6) បន្ទប់ ។  អ្នក​ដាក់ ទម្រង់បែបបទ​នឹង​ត្រូវបាន​ទទួលនៅ 21 Salem Street, Lowell, MA ។​ សំរាប់ ព័ត៌មានបន្ថែម សូមទំនាក់ទំនង​ Kevin Forsley លេខ (978) 364-5361 ។

 

ឱកាសលំនៅដ្ឋាន​ស្មើរភាព

 

 

 

 

The Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) is pleased to announce the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has declared the LHA as a High Performer Public Housing Agency. HUD has notified the Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) it has been issued an overall Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) score of 97 points for the most recent fiscal year ending 9/30/16.  The SEMAP system is used by HUD to annually evaluate and measure the performance of the LHA on the major functional areas of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. SEMAP enables HUD to identify LHA’s management capabilities and to more effectively monitor and assist the agency.

 

Dr. Gary Wallace, Executive Director, states “the scores are difficult to achieve”. Wallace credits the LHA’s team approach to the accomplishment, noting that the team consists of everyone from the LHA Section 8 staff, led by Director Tha Chhan to Section 8 residents, finance staff, and the LHA Board of Commissioners. “There is a lot of strategic planning that goes into managing a well runned Section 8 program and it is through this process with our staff and Board that we can achieve this kind of success,” states Wallace.

 

The recognition as “High-Performer” by HUD will continue to give the LHA flexibility and creativity in administering the agency. Wallace states, “I am proud of our agency and this designation by HUD is testimony to our good work.”

 

 

 

 

The Lowell Housing Authority's nonprofit affiliate Operation Returning Veterans, Inc. was dissolved this week. While it was a difficult decision, Operation Returning Veterans, Inc. determined that resources could be better utlized by another organization whose mission is to provide services to veterans within the Merrimack community. Operation Returning Veterans, Inc. would like to thank all of those who helped support the organizaton these past 6 years. A $22,346 donation has been made to Veterans Assisting Veterans, Inc. of Dracut, MA. It is our hope that our contribution will assist Veterans Assisting Veterans continue their great work in providing essential services to our veterans. For more information about Veterans Assisting Veterans, Inc. please visit https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAssistingVeterans

 

In October, the Lowell Youth Activities Program, Inc. applied for, and was recently awarded, a $3,500 grant through the 2016 Discretionary Grant Program offered by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. The purpose of the funding is to be able to offer Traveling Science Workshops hosted by the Discovery Museum of Acton, MA, to further enhance the Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Curriculum Framework within the LHA's After-School Learning Zone Programs.

 

These mobile presentations afford a highly interactive learning experience that promotes observation, raising questions, investigation, problem-solving, evidence identification and evaluation of findings. A total of ten workshops will be afforded to our students and it is anticipated that the presentation of the material will also foster character-building traits, self-initiative and contemplation surrounding the pursuit of higher education in a STEM-associated field. 

 
This program is supported by funds from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, www.glcfoundation.org.
 

 

 

To streamline operations, the Lowell Housing Authority is now offering residents the convenience of automatic payments. Enroll now to make timely payments when home or away, and avoid possible late fees. When enrolled, the LHA will automatically withdraw monthly rent from your checking account for a worry-free experience.

 

Contact your property manager to learn more or to enroll.

 

Contact now with one click. 

 

Dennis Mercier--978-364-5364

Amy Dalton--978-364-5329

Denise Ryan--978-364-5322

Sarita Berrios--978-364-5318

 
 

 

 

 

This Veteran’s Day, the LHA would like to recognize distinguished veteran, and resident of Dewey Archambault Towers, John “Jay” Mulkern, for his military service, and life-long commitment to the needs of his fellow veterans. Mulkern entered into the U.S. Army and served during the Vietnam War in 1968-69.  As the sole surviving male in his family, he was exempt from service, but he persuaded his mother to sign a waiver allowing him to serve.  Enlisting as a combat medic, Mulkern chose the service not out of a desire for excitement, but out of a personal sense of duty to “save his brothers.”

Following the war, Mulkern received a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and a Master’s Degree in psychology from Baylor University. He used his education and experience to work with the Veterans Administration as a mental health counselor in the 1980’s helping veterans cope with PTSD and other mental health issues. Throughout his career, he was recognized for his ability to use multiple strategies and de-escalation techniques to maintain positive relationships with his clients.

John "Jay" Mulkern proudly holds his

2016 Outstanding Service Award in the

lobby of his home at Dewey Archambault Towers

Mulkern campaigned on behalf of President Obama in 2012, and helped him secure votes in critical swing states. In 2013, Mulkern was invited, and attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and was recognized in 2015 by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration as a distinguished veteran of the year. In addition to presidential invitations, Mulkern’s name also appears on the Wall of Tolerance in Alabama for his commitment to end hatred and intolerance in America.

Mulkern has not slowed down. In October 2016, he received the Outstanding Service Award for his ongoing service to the veteran community, which was presented to him by the Helping Hand Veterans Fund. Mulkern is also working on his first book, entitled Absence of Light:  One Man’s Journey from Darkness to Redemption. The book highlights his personal journey with, and recovery from, alcohol and drug abuse.  He hopes that the book will provide strength, inspiration, and hope to veterans struggling with addiction.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

October 9th was the start of National Fire Prevention week, and the students at LHA’s Learning Zone after-school program were greeted by members of the community eager to share their knowledge of fire safety. The HAI Group, a public housing insurer, in partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Lowell Fire Department sponsor the program annually.  This year’s program was designed to bring greater awareness to the many misconceptions about smoke alarms, and the importance of insuring that the alarms are installed and properly maintained. Young residents are encouraged to continue the conversation with their families at home.  

To showcase their knowledge and artistic creativity, students completed posters to be submitted for the program’s Fire Safety Poster Contest centered around the theme “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every Ten Years,” one of the many tips students learned during the week.

Congratulations to the young artists who participated in the week-long training and submitted posters.  Good luck!

 

Visit our Facebook Page to see all entries 

 

 

March 14, 2016

 

Press Release: Lowell Housing Authority Annual Meeting

At the recent Annual Reorganizational Meeting (March 9th) the Lowell Housing Authority Board of Commissioners unanimously elected Patricia Sullivan Talty as Chairperson. Sullivan Talty an Attorney, Professor, and active member of many socially conscious civic boards accepted her new role as chairperson and looks forward to a productive year at the agency.  

Chairperson Sullivan Talty commented, “it's an exciting time to work with the LHA. Gary and his team are amazing at their ability to do more with less, while maintaining high quality housing and services for residents. I'm also looking forward to seeing progress on the upper Merrimack Street corridor project.”

The Board also unanimously chose Bob Mc Mahon as Vice Chair. Mr. Mc Mahon has previous LHA Board experience serving the LHA. Mc Mahon looks forward to working the Executive Director and staff on Veteran’s issues and continuing its progress as a high performing agency.

In further action the Board of Commissioners adopted Executive Director Wallace’s proposed agency goals that address economic development along the Merrimack street corridor, the creation of additional handicap accessible units, finalizing the agency’s solar net metering project, improving the financial ratio and staff development.

October 2015

Press Release

Lowell Housing Authority Achieves “High Performer” Score on HUD PHAS Report. The Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) is pleased to announce the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has declared the LHA as a High Performer Public Housing Agency. HUD has notified the LHA it has been issued a Public Housing Assessment Score (PHAS) of 90 points for the most recent fiscal year ending 2014. The PHAS system is used by HUD to annually evaluate and measure the performance of the LHA on the major programs it administers. The public housing program is evaluated on the basis of four (4) areas including: physical, financial, management, and capital funds.

Dr. Gary K. Wallace, Executive Director, states “the scores are difficult to achieve given the age of our developments and the declining financial resources.” Wallace credits the team approach to the accomplishment, noting that the team consists of everyone from the residents, maintenance, management, and finance staff, to our Board of Commissioners. “There is a lot of strategic thinking and planning that goes into running the LHA and it is through this process that we can achieve this kind of success,” states Wallace.

The recognition as “High Performer” by HUD will continue to give the LHA flexibility and creativity in administering the agency as well as more grant opportunities and financial rewards for modernization funds.

The Member Resident Scholarship Program sponsored by Housing Authority Insurance, Inc., has been providing scholarships to public and housing choice voucher residents since 2003. To date, more than $800,000 has been awarded to over 320 residents.
 
The 2016 Member Resident Scholarship Program is currently underway, offering 50 scholarships worth $2,500 each. Using ‘STARS Online’ go online and visit https://HAIGroup.STARSScholarshipsOnline.com/STARS/default.aspx, select ‘Sign Up’ to create an account, then answer the questions and review the posted information.
 
An informative video is available to help you
By completely answering the questions, you will be entered in a drawing for a chance to be awarded a
one-time scholarship.
 
Eligibility:
Official rules, frequently asked questions and our
privacy policy are available online at:
• You must be a resident for the last six months at
a housing authority that is a member of Housing
Authority Insurance, Inc.
• You must be a U.S. Citizen
Act now!
Entries must be submitted online,
postmarked or e-mailed by April 30, 2016.
 
For more information, contact us at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
800-873-0242 ext. 639.

Property Manager Dennis Mercier has been appointed to the Lowell Opiate EpidemicCrisis Task Force. The appointment letter from Mayor Elliot is available below.

On Saturday, September 19th, the City of Lowell in conjunction with the Lowell Housing Authority re-dedicated Mulligan Park on Avenue A. The completely revamped area consists of a splash pad, and recreational facilities for all ages. It includes the City's first official whiffle ball park! All residents are welcome to enjoy this wonderful addition to the array of parks and recreational areas in the City. A special thank you to the City of Lowell Parks and Recreation Department for all the effort that went into making this a premier facility.

 

017       008 

 

         035009

  

 

 

 

 

 

LHA Receives 2015 NAHRO and NERC/NAHRO Merit Awards 

 

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Organization (NAHRO) has announced the Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) is a recipient of a 2015 Merit Award in Housing and Community Development for its Public Housing Community Garden Initiative and a second award for its Healthy Homes/Asthma Intervention Program. Additionally, the LHA is being presented with a 2015 NERC/NAHRO Regional Award of Merit for its Healthy Homes/Asthma Intervention Program.

 

The Merit Award for the Community Garden Initiative is being presented for the unique approach the LHA, in cooperation with Mill City Grows, undertook to involve residents in educating, planning and planting an organic community garden which harvested a variety of healthy produce for the LHA residents.

 

The Merit Award and NERC/NAHRO award for the Healthy Homes program is recognizing the LHA, in conjunction with UMass Lowell, the Lowell Community Health Center, and the Coalition for a Better Acre, for providing asthma intervention in the LHA’s public housing units. The major goals of the program were to remediate homes for environmental triggers of asthma and improve the health outcomes of residents.

 

The NAHRO Awards will be presented at the July NAHRO Summer Conference in Austin, Texas. The NERC/NAHRO Regional Award will be presented at their Annual Conference in June in North Falmouth, Mass.

 

 

 

6/1/15

 

 

 

LHA continues efforts to support veterans

 

Dear Stakeholder:

The Lowell Housing Authority is pleased to announce the promotion of Samuel T. Talbot. Sam was recently promoted to the Property Manager-State position. A former veteran, Samuel Talbot served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Constellation as an (E3) Airman. He received several medals and ribbons during his service. He has a AS Degree in Engineering from Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester and has extensive experience as a Field Engineer, Drill Rig Assistant, Research Assistant, and served as an on-call Firefighter in Sterling, Mass. Sam was hired by the LHA as a Maintenance Custodian in Facilities Management in August of 2011 and has received perfect attendance during his time as a Custodian.

The Lowell Housing Authority is also pleased to announce the hiring of Patrick R. Mullen., a U.S. Army veteran, as a Maintenance Custodian in the Facilities Management Department. Patrick Mullen served in Afghanistan in the U.S. Army as an 11b10 Infantryman. He served as an Infantryman for 4 years during which time he received numerous medals, ribbons, and badges including: Afghanistan Campaign Medal W/Campaign Star, Army Commendations Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Driver and Mechanic Badge. Patrick is married and has one child and he lives in Lowell with his family.

The hiring of veterans is part of the commitment the Lowell Housing Authority Executive Director and Board of Commissioners made several years back  in resolving to hire Post 911 veterans to open positions at the LHA. The resolution states "To the extent permitted by law, the Lowell Housing Authority shall over the course of the next two years conduct increased outreach in order to engage and employ post 911 veterans as part of our hiring or selection process". The Board and the Executive Director are supporting the Operation Returning Veterans Program (ORV) by ensuring employment and supportive opportunities to our Post 911 Veterans.

The LHA congratulates Sam Talbot and welcomes Patrick Mullen on board!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Gary K. Wallace,

Executive Director

 

 

 

Lowell Sun Column- Sunday February, 15, 2015

 

The Lowell Housing Authority was recently recognized as a "High Performer." Click on the attachment below to read the full story in the Lowell Sun. 

 


 

The LHA scored 97% overall on SEMAP

The LHA scored an overall SEMAP score of 97% for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. Once again, this score places the LHA in the “High Performer” category of HUD designations. The Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) is used by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to better manage the Section 8 tenant-based program by identifying the Housing Authority capabilities as measured by 15 separate indicators. The LHA earned 140 points, of a possible 145 points, which provided the overall score of 97%.

Dr. Gary K. Wallace, Executive Director, states, “this is one of the highest SEMAP scores received by the Lowell Housing Authority and can be attributed to the tremendous effort on the part of the staff in the Division of Leased Housing Programs.” The SEMAP tool measures the performance of the agency in all the major areas of the Section 8 Program including annual re-certifications of income, HQS inspections, Rent Reasonableness Certification, as well as many other performance categories. The Authority manages 1,250 Section 8 units. Dr. Wallace states he “recognizes the staff for the efficiency of their work in getting such a “high performing” score on the SEMAP.” He gives special thanks to Tha Chhan, Division Director of Leasing & Occupancy, for the hard work he has put into achieving this score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    Get a copy of the free Adobe Acrobat reader here

Dear Stakeholder,

 In a major step forward, the HUD Boston office has just notified me that they have officially closed its files on five more of the recommendations made by the HUD Inspector General. This means we have developed and implemented new procedures that satisfied the HUD Inspector General’s Office. The five issues that have been addressed and closed are:

  1. Develop policies and procedures to adequately plan force account activities.
  2. Establish and implement policies and procedures to properly schedule force account activities.
  3. Establish procedures to ensure that adequate records for modernization are maintained.
  4. Strengthen monitoring controls over construction projects to ensure the quality and progress of modernization work.
  5. Develop and implement a change order policy in accordance with Federal procurement.

 I am enthusiastic that our Executive team and Board of Commissioners are successfully and methodically satisfying HUD’s concerns. We are on pace to have final resolution by July 31st 2014.I will also continue addressing the concerns of all LHA stakeholders and look forward to regaining your confidence.

On the behalf of the Board of Commissioners, LHA Audit Response Team (ART) and the entire LHA staff, I want to again publicly emphasize our commitment to maintaining safe, secure, dignified homes for all of our residents.  We will continue to monitor and improve efficiencies in our operations. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can address any concerns or in any other way be of assistance.

Yours Truly,

Gary Wallace

Lowell Housing Authority Goes Smoke-Free May 1, 2014

As of May 1, 2014, Lowell Housing Authority is adopting smoke-free policies to protect residents in their units from secondhand smoke. Because smoke drifts between units and cannot be contained, the only fail-proof solution to the problem of secondhand smoke is for buildings to go entirely smoke-free.

According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. By going smoke-free, residents of Lowell Housing Authority will be less likely to suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke, which include acute respiratory infections, ear problems, asthma, heart attacks, and certain cancers.

With its new rule, the Lowell Housing Authority joins the growing number of public and private multi-unit housing properties throughout Massachusetts with smoke-free policies, a positive trend that protects residents from the serious health effects of breathing secondhand smoke.

Under the Smoke-Free Policy, LHA residents who wish to smoke must do so outdoors and at least 15 feet away from LHA buildings.


 

 

Massachusetts Looks After Vulnerable Populations

Since the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, people across the U.S. have been struggling financially on many fronts. One of the principal symptoms of this has been the ever-increasing barriers to home ownership, with many people too sunk in debt to be able to afford a reasonable mortgage. As a result, many families and individuals rent their accommodation, but here too prices have become prohibitive: a “typical family looking to rent has to pay more than 30 percent of its income for a typical apartment” reports the Christian Science Monitor, and for lower-income families, this may rise to as much as half their earnings going towards rent. The increased demand for rental homes has increased a demand that pushes rental prices upwards.

 

Soaring costs of living becoming a burden

At the same time, other financial pressures are making it ever more difficult for families and vulnerable people to make ends meet. The soaring costs of education are turning college into the remotest of possibilities for some families, while others take the financial leap but are saddled with debt. College tuition costs have “increased 538 percent in the 28-year period” since 1985, reports Bloomberg, while “balances of student loans have eclipsed both auto loans and credit cards, making student loan debt the largest form of consumer debt outside of mortgages,” observes a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Child care costs are increasing, especially in Massachusetts, where it is the highest in the entire nation with an “average annual cost of $16,430”, reports the Herald News. All families are feeling the crunch, but particularly those living on the minimum wage, which, adjusted for inflation, has decreased consistently since 1968.

 

Pressures on state support programs

Now more so than ever, budget cuts resulting in decreased assistance to vulnerable families and individuals are increasing the unbearable pressure on those with low incomes, and Massachusetts is working hard to continue to deliver social security to its most vulnerable populations. In an attempt to help combat the barriers to home ownership, the Massachusetts-based Mortgage Network provides “first-time low- and moderate-income borrowers with affordable financing options” – a project that will result not only in greater financial stability for those families who are able to buy their own home, but also in a deflated and therefore more affordable rental market. As observed by Governor Patrick in his recent State of the State address, Massachusetts is “the only state to guarantee emergency shelter” to those who need it, with state programs assisting homeless individuals not only providing food, shelter, and clothing to those who need it, but also helping people to secure permanent housing, providing healthcare and job assistance, and offering help with mental illness and substance abuse. This is particularly vital given the stigma attached to homeless people struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, which can cause addicts to “miss work, neglect family obligations and have financial problems,” notes the Coalition Against Drug Abuse. Programs are needed not only to help reduce the numbers of homeless people in the short term, but also to develop “innovative programs and services that address the underlying factors that cause homelessness in the first place,” argues the Boston Globe.

 

Heating benefits pledge

The recent ‘farm bill’ instated by Congress aimed to reduce the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (‘SNAP’) by ending state practices that triggered higher SNAP benefits for families receiving minimal heating assistance (as low as $1). The bill required that heating benefits would need to be raised to as high as $20 before resulting in an increase in SNAP benefits, but Massachusetts, along with Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Montana has used this loophole to keep its SNAP program up and running. Federal funding in the amount of $3 million will be used to fund the increase in heating assistance needed to keep SNAP benefits up and running. ''Despite what Speaker Boehner said last week (ironically, on the same day he invited Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress), this effort is not 'fraud' or 'cheating' — it's an effort by states like Massachusetts to provide food to hungry families,'' commented U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester.

The Lowell Housing Authority is proud to form part of the ongoing work of Massachusetts to take care of its most vulnerable citizens by improving services to families and individuals seeking housing assistance. 

 

Emma Finch

Build-A-Garden

The Lowell Housing Authority, in partnership with Mill City Grows and Youth Build, is constructing raised community garden beds at the North Common Village Development. A dozen families have expressed interest in participating in the community garden program. On April 3rd several of these families assisted with the construction of the raised beds and filling them with the soil needed to grow their own vegetables. On April 22nd Mill City Grows will assist with the planting of seedlings to launch the beginning of the growing season. Mill City Grows is working with our residents to create an urban food production site and to give LHA residents the knowledge to grow their own food, access to healthy foods and activities. The Build-A-Garden program empowers residents to team up with Mill City Grows to transform physical spaces and create healthier neighborhoods through food production, community engagement and leadership. It is a very exciting and sustainable initiative!

 

           

 

 

February 3, 2014
 

Dear Stakeholder,
 

The LHA scored an overall SEMAP score of 97% for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. Once again, this score places the LHA in the "High Performer" category of HUD designations. The Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) is used by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to better manage the Section 8 tenant-based program by identifying the Housing Authority capabilities as measured by 15 separate indicators. The LHA earned 140 points, of a possible 145 points, which provided the overall score of 97%.


This is the second year in a row the LHA has achieved one of the highest SEMAP scores of 97%. The high score received by the Lowell Housing Authority can be attributed to the tremendous effort on the part of the staff in the Division of Leased Housing Programs. The SEMAP tool measures the performance of the agency in all the major areas of the Section 8 Program including annual re-certifications of income, HQS inspections, Rent Reasonableness Certification, as well as many other performance categories. The Authority manages 1,250 Section 8 units across Massachusetts. I recognize the departmental staff for the efficiency of their work in getting such a "high performing" score on the SEMAP. In particular, special thanks to Tha Chhan, Division Director of Leasing & Occupancy and Arlene McDermott, the former Assistant Division Director of Leasing & Occupancy, for the work they put into achieving this score.


Sincerely,

Gary K. Wallace, Executive Director

Dear Stakeholder,


As many of you know, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been conducting a lengthy and thorough audit of the Lowell Housing Authority's Public Housing and Recovery Act Capital Fund programs, including the force account labor program. The results of that audit will soon be made public and I wanted to take this occasion to discuss a few key points.


Let me begin by acknowledging the close working relationship the Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) maintains with state, federal and municipal regulators, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to ensure compliance with safety, health and environmental regulations, fair housing practices, and financial policies through a wide variety of regulatory and record keeping protocols. Since 2008, the LHA has undergone a number of audits related to Capital and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding through HUD as well as annual independent financial audits. Any time these audits identified issues they were corrected.


In any review the most important question any government auditor asks is whether there are indications of waste, fraud or abuse. As my colleagues at the LHA and I expected from the outset, there were no such findings from the most recent HUD audit. Auditors found no signs of wrongdoing on the part of any current or former LHA employee. Additionally, the audit found no evidence of ineligible expenses or misspent funds. This too, is important.


The auditors did, however, find fault with some of the record keeping practices employed by the LHA during the surge of work the Authority engaged in when increased federal money became available following the 2008 financial crisis.


To satisfy federal regulations, my staff and I will spend considerable time over the next two- to six months producing the necessary documentation to justify LHA's use of what is called force account labor. The use of this process allows the authority to hire local union workers directly at a critical time for many families. The practice is not new to LHA or to our public housing counterparts in other metro areas. I'm confident that force account labor was the right thing to do - and I'd do it again. But our record keeping was deficient, the auditors found, and in retrospect I realize I should have spent more time attending to that aspect and not just focusing on finding innovative ways to improve conditions for our residents by advancing projects as quickly as possible.


While I am gratified that HUD's auditors found no wrongdoing at LHA, inadequate record keeping is never acceptable. I want to acknowledge that we take their findings seriously and are committed to addressing the findings contained in the audit and, where required, implement corrective action. I am also confident we will be able to produce adequate documentation for every expense to HUD's satisfaction. Furthermore, this is an appropriate time to underscore our commitment to constantly updating our policies and procedures to the highest standards.


Finally, I have every confidence in the 98 men and women who work for the Lowell Housing Authority and am gratified that their integrity was substantiated by the HUD auditors. With the addition of some key personnel over the last few years, we have begun an extensive effort to ensure all of us here fully understand the responsibilities that come with spending federal money.


We have learned a great deal during this process and believe we are a stronger agency because of it The LHA, its employees and subcontractors are committed to delivering quality services, facilities, procurements and recordkeeping that meet government compliance standards.


Thank you for your review and understanding of our position.


Gary K. Wallace

Eleven tenants, property managers, and other representatives from multi-unit housing in Lowell joined a recent statewide gathering in Worcester to promote discussion about the intricacies of smoke-free housing rules at the first "Together, Let's Clear the Air: A Smoke-Free Housing Resident Summit." Housing authorities, local public health departments, tobacco-free initiatives, tenant advocates, residents, researchers, and legal experts participated in the event.

The summit featured keynote speaker Martin Nee, Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nee emphasized that children in non-smoking units of multiunit housing have 140% higher cotinine levels, a test of nicotine exposure, than those children who don't live in multiunit housing.

The event was hosted by the Massachusetts Partnership for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention, which is coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The group is working across the state to help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multiunit housing through education about voluntary smoke-free policies.

In April 2013, the State, Regional and Nationally Recognized Learning Zone Program applied to receive the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program via sponsorship of the Lowell Public Schools Food & Nutrition Department. As a result of such, we were successfully approved to receive both dinner and snack provisions for the students five days per week. The mission of the meal program is to provide nutritious food to children served in after-school programs in low-income areas so that they have the needed to concentrate on homework as well as join their friends in physical, educational and social activities. Each meal is comprised of five components: milk, vegetable, fruit, meat and a grain and are made fresh and delivered daily.

The LHA scored an overall SEMAP score of 97% for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. Once again, this score places the LHA in the “High Performer” category of HUD designations. The Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) is used by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to better manage the Section 8 tenant-based program by identifying the Housing Authority capabilities as measured by 15 separate indicators. The LHA earned 140 points, of a possible 145 points, which provided the overall score of 97%.

Dr. Gary K. Wallace, Executive Director, states, “this is one of the highest SEMAP scores received by the Lowell Housing Authority and can be attributed to the tremendous effort on the part of the staff in the Division of Leased Housing Programs.” The SEMAP tool measures the performance of the agency in all the major areas of the Section 8 Program including annual re-certifications of income, HQS inspections, Rent Reasonableness Certification, as well as many other performance categories. The Authority manages 1,250 Section 8 units across the State of Massachusetts. Dr. Wallace states he “recognizes the staff for the efficiency of their work in getting such a “high performing” score on the SEMAP.” He gives special thanks to Tha Chhan, Division Director of Leasing & Occupancy and Arlene McDermott, Assistant Division Director of Leasing & Occupancy for the work they put into achieving this score.

Tha Chhan recieves citation from Lowell Mayor


LHA Executive Director Dr. Gary K.Wallace is excited about the newest member, as he has long advocated for board diversity, especially women and minorities. Wallace, who attended her swearing in ceremony at 8:30 AM in City Hall on February 4th to capture the historical moment, praised Ms. Peou for her willingness to serve, her civic-mindedness, and her compassion for the issues the agency faces.

Following the ceremony, Ms Peou was welcomed at the agency's Headquarters, where she had an opportunity to meet with Executive Staff, including Mary Ann Maciejewski, Assistant Executive Director, Adam Garvey, Chief Financial Officer, and Maria Rodriguez, Executive Secretary. Ms. Peou received a briefing and an Official Commissioners Handbook.

The Lowell Housing Authority is pleased to announce the hiring of Mark J. Wilson, Jr., a U.S. Army veteran, as the new Central Storage Warehouse Manager.

Mark J. Wilson, Jr. served in Iraq in the U.S. Army as an 11b Infantryman in the Airborne Infantry. He received numerous medals, ribbons, and badges including: Army Commendations Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, etc.

Mark has worked as a substitute teacher for the City of Lowell and as a Manufacturing Supervisor for EMC. He is currently attending UMass/Lowell’s Criminal Justice Program in his pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

The hiring of veterans is part of the commitment the Lowell Housing Authority Executive Director and Board of Commissioners made, in partnership with Operation Returning Veterans (ORV),  in resolving to hire Post 911 veterans to open positions at the LHA. Mark is the 4th veteran the LHA has hired since making this commitment.

The LHA welcomes Mark J. Wilson, Jr. on board!


 

 

 

 

Dr. Gary K. Wallace, Executive Director, announces the LHA has received some of the highest scores to date on the HUD REAC Inspections and HUD SEMAP scores for the most recent fiscal year.
The scores for the recent REAC Inspections conducted at all Federal Developments, beginning in October 2011 and concluding in January 2012 are listed by AMP, and are shown below:


AMP 1                                                96 %
AMP 2                                                87 %
AMP 3                                                94 %
AMP 4                                                94 %
AMP 5                                                94 %


Dr. Wallace states, “these are some of the highest scores received by the Lowell Housing Authority to date and can only be attributed to a tremendous effort on the part of all staff involved in the process. Many staff members demonstrated extra effort to ensure that preparation work for these critical inspections was thoroughly completed. I am very proud of the way that staff at all levels, especially our maintenance crew, worked together to meet our common goal of attaining a high score. The quality of the work performed at each AMP is reflected in these scores and I congratulate you on your achievement.”
 
The LHA’s scores for your recent SEMAP submission for fiscal year 2011 are as follows:


            Points Earned:            130  (of a possible 135 points)            Overall Score:            96
            Overall Rating:          High Performer
 
This is also one of the highest SEMAP score received by the Lowell Housing Authority to date.  Dr. Wallace states, “this can only be attributed to a tremendous effort on the part of all staff members in the Division of Leased Housing Programs. SEMAP measures the performance of the Authority in all major functional areas of the Section 8 Program. This includes the timeliness of HQS inspections and annual recertification of income, the proper calculation of tenant rent portions, and the completion of initial and annual Rent Reasonableness Certifications.”   
 
Wallace states, “I am very proud of the way that staff at all levels worked together to meet their common goal of scoring well. The efficient work performed by each staff member is a testament to the scores received by the Agency. A celebratory lunch will be held this spring for all staff and individuals will be recognized for their outstanding contributions.”

The Lowell Housing Authority is pleased to announce the hiring of two veterans, Samuel T. Talbot and J. Michael Burke. The hiring of these veterans is part of the commitment the Lowell Housing Authority Executive Director and Board of Commissioners made in resolving to hire Post 911 veterans to open positions at the LHA. The resolution states "To the extent permitted by law, the Lowell Housing Authority shall over the course of the next two years conduct increased outreach in order to engage and employ post 911 veterans as part of our hiring or selection process". The Board and the Executive Director are supporting the Operation Returning Veterans Program (ORV) by ensuring employment and supportive opportunities to our Post 911 Veterans.

Samuel Talbot served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Constellation as an (E3) Airman. He received several medals and ribbons during his service. He has a AS Degree in Engineering from Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester and has extensive experience as a Field Engineer, Drill Rig Assistant, Research Assistant, and served as an on-call Firefighter in Sterling, Mass. Sam was hired by the LHA as a Custodian in Facilities Management.

J. Michael Burke served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an (E4), Corporal having served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received several medals and ribbons during his service. He has attended Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston and Middlesex Community College. His coursework included Electronic Engineering and Business. He has extensive experience in Facilities Maintenance, Construction Sub-Contracting, Maintenance Engineer, Maintenance Technician and Service Technician. Michael was hired by the LHA as a Custodian in Facilities Management.

The ORV Program also seeks to ensure the development of the housing infrastructure necessary to support our returning veterans with affordable homes. Through a collaboration of private and public sector enterprises, sixty houses at the River's Edge development will be completed that will provide a family friendly neighborhood in a community committed to supporting American service members and their families with education, job training, employment opportunities and other social services to ensure their long term success. This Program is a model for how communities can collaborate to support members of the military and their families and reintegrate them into a thriving sustainable community

The LHA welcomes both Sam Talbot and Michael Burke on board!


Below are letters from Dr. Wallace regarding recent advocacy on behalf of the Operations for Returning Veterans project , and the LHA Rivers Edge Development.

Note: These files require that you have installed Adobe, or the free Adobe Reader, available here

The Board of Commissioners' Regular Meetings take place the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 5:00pm. The Annual meeting is the 2nd Wednesday in March at 5:00pm. Meetings take place at the Armand P. Mercier Community Center, 21 Salem Street, Lowell, MA.


meeting

 

 Any person wishing to speak at a regular or special meeting of the Lowell Housing Authority must register at the Central Office, 350 Moody Street, Lowell, MA no later than 12:00 noon on Monday prior to the scheduled meeting and indicate what subject is to be discussed. Exceptions to the above rule would be regular employees, consultants of the Lowell Housing Authority, or a spokesperson of a recognized Tenant Council.

 

 

 

 

The Leased Housing Division administers the Authority's federal Section 8 program, as well as a number of other rental assistance programs. It subsidizes thousands of eligible families in privately owned apartments, providing an alternative to the Authority's conventional public housing. Inquiries about leased housing may be made at the Leasing and Occupancy Department's Office at 350 Moody Street, Lowell, MA