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2019: A Year of Rebuilding for the St. Petersburg Housing Authority

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2019 a year of rebuilding, statement from board

2019: A Year of Rebuilding for the St. Petersburg Housing Authority
A Statement from the Board of Commissioners

As we prepare to welcome a new year and look back on the achievements of past years, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) is motivated by the opportunities to better serve our Residents and the greater community of St. Petersburg. Over the past few years, we have embarked on repositioning our housing stock to provide more comfortable, affordable, quality rental housing. We have set in motion a significant revitalization initiative for our Jordan Park community, which will offer enriched accommodations to our seniors and families. We are launching rehabilitation and property improvement plans for all our housing communities so that our communities will continue to be the most sought after affordable rental housing in St. Petersburg. Additionally, we are planning to develop new affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership opportunities in 2020.

New Board
SPHA's newly reconstituted Board of Commissioners is made up of a diverse group of community advocates and leaders who fully embrace and are committed to the mission of the Housing Authority and the importance of our fiduciary responsibility - to the people we serve, to the agency, and the City at large. We are drawing from our collective experiences in urban revitalization, housing, social services, public engagement, and management to renew SPHA's focus and rethink how we operate. We will be completely transparent regarding the Housing Authority and Board's operations and vision.

Our Board is led by Chairperson Stephanie Owens, who is nationally known for building critical cross-sector alliances and coalitions to influence government and corporate policies to improve communities. Chairperson Owens served as an appointee of both President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton, where she held senior positions in the White House, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Commerce, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Under her leadership, SPHA will strive to rebuild trust, enhance communications, and foster collaboration with the city of St. Petersburg, agency stakeholders, community members, and local businesses.

Commissioner Stephanie Owens, Chair                    
Commissioner James Dates                                    
Commissioner Jerrilyn Evans                                              
Commissioner Sharlene Gambrell-Davis                    
Commissioner C. Knox LaSister III  
Commissioner Terri Lipsey Scott

Director C. Knox LaSister III, Chair
Director James Dates                                    
Director Jerrilyn Evans
Director Sharlene Gambrell-Davis
Director Terri Lipsey Scott
Director Stephanie Owens

The Board of Commissioners is tasked, by law, with the governance of the housing authority, agency oversight, fiduciary obligations, and financial viability, and we take those responsibilities very seriously. To move forward together to fulfill the agency's mission, the Board decided to recruit new leadership for the executive team of the Authority to match the challenges entering a new decade for the agency. As we pursue our national search for a new Chief Executive Officer, we recognize and thank our staff at the Authority for their admirable performance and dedication.

SPHA programs provide affordable rental opportunities to 4,000 qualifying low-income households and are supported by our professional and dedicated staff. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded SPHA "High Performer" status as measured by the federally mandated Public Housing Assessment System and Section 8 Management Assessment Program. The designation is a testament to the professionalism and resilience of our staff, who served our mission despite daunting obstacles.

While SPHA earned the highest HUD rating for our housing programs, we continue to work in partnership with HUD to improve program performance in areas cited by HUD as capable of efficiency enhancement. Those program performance enhancements will be embodied in a Strategic Operational Plan" for HUD's approval in 2020.

New Future for Jordan Park
The sustainable revitalization of the Jordan Park community is one of the most critical priorities of SPHA. HUD has revised its tools for repositioning public housing properties nationwide, and the new tools present a tactical opportunity to modify our plans to gain more resources. The additional funds will expand the physical enhancements and rehabilitation improvements for Jordan Park. As we make those adjustments and streamline the overall project implementation timetable, we look forward to a ground-breaking ceremony by mid-2020.

We can't move fast enough. Nothing will cure the displacements and compromised housing accommodations experienced by Jordan Park residents other than a wholly revitalized community that provides a genuinely decent, safe quality of living. We want our residents to know that we see you, we understand the issues you are facing, and we're working to resolve those issues to the best of our ability and with your input.

We also invite the business, education, and philanthropic community to contribute to the Jordan Park redevelopment efforts. There will be opportunities for entrepreneurs and vendors to support construction and longer-term maintenance efforts. Service providers will have prospects in job training, job enhancement, and senior support services. 

New Vision for 2020
The St. Petersburg Housing Authority recognizes its responsibility to create more affordable housing stock for the greater St. Petersburg community. HUD is changing the way that public housing is managed and SPHA is embracing this new direction to make public and affordable housing more sustainable locally. We will continue to reposition existing assets and to develop new strategies to create safe, healthy, and affordable housing, better serving the interests of our residents and benefiting the city.

We understand the importance of strengthening partnerships, increasing civic trust, and participating in impactful collaborations to expand the continuum of care, services, and support for our housing communities. Working collaboratively with the entire St. Petersburg community, our mission is to tightly weave our activities and initiatives into the fabric of our community. We will be an engaged, resourceful, and trustworthy partner in the mission to increase the supply and quality of affordable housing in St. Petersburg. As a first step, we invite the greater St. Petersburg community to attend our monthly Board meetings, which are open to the public.

We also recognize our obligation to ensure maximum participation by our residents and resident-owned businesses in the economic stimulation generated by our contracting and vendor supplier relationships. As an economic partner, we will work to cultivate more collaboration within St. Petersburg's business community to enhance the training and job placement opportunities for our residents.

Most importantly, we will enhance our residential services and create more open lines of communication with our residents. In 2020, we will create a Resident Advisory Committee to strengthen opportunities for the full involvement of our residents to provide feedback and participation in decision-making.

Each of these enhancements is a brick in the foundation of a new SPHA, which will result in a stronger agency and a better community partner. With a renewed and collaborative spirit, we look forward to all we can achieve together in 2020.

2001 Gandy Blvd. North
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Phone: 727.323.3171
TDD: 800.955.8770
TTY: 800.955.8771 

SPHA is an Equal Housing Opportunity Provider. We provide housing without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental handicap, familial status, national origin, or other protected class.

Handicapped / Equal Opportunity Housing