The Lowell Housing Authority is proud to announce that the agency received 2017 NERC/NAHRO Awards of Merit.The applications were submitted In January, for two awards through the New England Regional Council (NERC) of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).The awards are presented annually to recognize nationally, the achievements of NERC/NAHRO members. While there are many categories for award consideration, the Authority applied for an Award of Merit for Project Design and one for Administrative Innovation.
For the Project Design category, the Authority was recognized for its efforts to revitalize Themeles square in 2016 with new lighting, landscaping, seating, and open spaces to reduce crime in the neighborhood.
The award for Administrative Innovation addressed the agency’s work to create digital copies of aging blueprints to improve efficiency of operations by increasing the ease by which contractors can access and handle the blueprints, while preserving the integrity of the historic documents.The project, while a brainchild of the Authority, was brought to fruition with the help of University of Massachusetts Lowell students, who worked tirelessly to complete the digitization, and we sincerely thank them for their hard work
Senior staff from the agency will accept the awards at the NERC/NAHRO Annual Meeting in June. The agency is grateful for the recognition and will continue to find new ways in the coming year to improve efficiencies and design innovative housing to meet the needs of our residents.
Lowell Housing Authority Gets A New Look
In 2016, the Lowell Housing Authority set an annual goal to rebrand the agency, aligning the Authority’s activities with the modern challenges in housing, which require Public Housing Authority’s not only to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing, but to also address the social, educational, and economic barriers that hinder personal growth and independent living. Adopted by the Board at the Annual Meeting in March, this year-long endeavor to redefine the Authority, culminated in a new logo and slogan that we believe more accurately reflects the progressiveness of the agency and its programs, including our commitment to data driven decision-making, innovative housing solutions, modern architectural design, resident engagement, and cutting edge support programs that afford residents the opportunity for stability and mobility. The Lowell Housing Authority is pleased to announce the release of the agency’s new logo, and slogan. The agency will strive to be “A Foundation for Stability and Opportunity” for our residents by providing a safe and affordable place to call home and the tools needed to foster personal growth and independence.
Lowell Housing Authority to Develop New Mixed-Use Housing
For the last two years, the Lowell Housing Authority has worked to revitalize the streetscape along Market Street, which to date, has seen improvements with new parking, iron fencing, and new walkways.More recently, Themelis Square at the corner of Market Street and Dummer Street has been improved to include open seating with new benches, lighting, additional parking spaces for residents, and new landscaping. The Lowell Housing Authority is committed to the urban revitalization of the Merrimack Street Corridor. To that end, the agency has established a non-profit affiliate called the Revitalization Effort Toward New Urbanism (RENU), to begin an ambitious project to develop mixed-use property consisting of workforce housing and retail space. The vision for the 50-60 new units will be designed for families making $40,000-$60,000—families who often do not meet eligibility requirements for other LHA housing options.
While the project is still in the early stages, an environmental review has been conducted, and RENU has assembled its Board of Directors, consisting of community partners who will help drive the project. The next step for the nonprofit will be the submission of an application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to disposition scattered sites.Funding will come from the disposition of the scattered sites, along with low-income tax credits.The organization will be working on resident outreach this spring to discuss the plans for the project, though it will be at least a year before any resident is relocated to another Lowell Housing Authority property.
Watch the interview with Gary Wallace, Executive Director, on the Sun Spot feature of your local news
Annual Meeting Highlights 2017
The Lowell Housing Authority held its Annual Meeting held on Wednesday, March 8th. Our annual meetings offer staff and our Board of Commissioners an opportunity to collectively reflect upon last year's goals, address the goals for the coming year, and honor those staff and community partners who contribute to our day efforts to provide the highest quality housing and support services to low income families. We are pleased to present you with this year's highlights.
The Lowell Housing Authority established goals in 2016:
The Development of Mixed-Use Housing
The Authority established the nonprofit affiliate, the Revitalization Effort Toward New Urbanism, Inc. (RENU) to oversee the development of mixed-use housing. In the coming year, the Authority will work to fine tune development on the site of the Mercier Center and begin collaborating with community stakeholders for the revitalization of the Merrimack Street Corridor.
Provide Additional Training Opportunities for Staff and Increase Diversity in Hiring
In 2016, LHA Employees received training from Fair Housing, along with trainings and certifications offered by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and OSHA training for maintenance employees.
Establish A Sustainable Energy Contract
The LHA established a 20-year sustainable energy contract consisting of a State and Federal site expected to save the agency $300,000 in energy credits for 2017.
We set a new goal in 2017 to expand communication with residents and stakeholders by utilizing social media and the agency’s quarterly newsletter to engage our audience. Also, noteworthy was the election of a new Chairperson and Vice Chairperson who will steer the organization in the coming year. Congratulations to Vice Chairperson McMahon and Commissioner Bopha Peou, who were unanimously elected to serve as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, respectively.
Lastly, the Authority recognized community partners who exhibited unwavering commitment to the Authority and its programs in the previous year. Congratulations to all the recipients of this year’s awards. Thank you for your support and we look forward to working with you in 2017, and the years to come.
Recipients of the 2017 Recognition Awards:
Lowell Police Department
Partner of the Year
Jill Maker, The Wish Project
Beth Brassell, Pollard Memorial Library
Nick Manolis, Manolis Family Foundation
Wayne Sevigny, Resident of the Year
Amy Dalton, Employee of the Year
Click on the attachments below to view the 2017 Annual Recognitions Awards program, and Inform, Promote, Advocate (IPA) Highlights, a brief snapshot of the LHA's activities in 2016.