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NMA Housing Awards

2009 NMA Housing Award Winners

Nan McKay & Associates, Inc. (NMA) is the industry leader in providing performance improvement solutions including training, consulting, and products to subsidized housing agencies. NMA is proud to announce the 2009 NMA Award Winners and to honor excellence in the assisted housing industry and recognize individual agency performance.

Award Winners:
  • Excellence in Housing Award
    Fort Worth Housing Authority
  • Pioneer in Housing Award (Large Agency)
    Harris County Housing Authority
  • Pioneer in Housing Award (Small Agency)
    Punta Gorda Housing Authority
  • Champion in Housing Award
    Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency

Award Winners Receive:
  • An engraved trophy
  • Featured profile on the NMA Website

Thank you for participating in the 2009 NMA Housing Awards. We appreciate everything you are doing to make assisted housing successful in your community and nationwide. The nominations this year were the best we have ever received and we are so proud to announce our 2009 winners.

2009 Excellence in Housing Award
Fort Worth Housing Authority

 NMA is proud to announce that the 2009 winner of its Excellence in Housing Award is the Forth Worth Housing Authority.

Increasing the Number of Homeless Clients Served
Over the last year, the Fort Worth Housing Authority has achieved a dramatic increase in the number of homeless clients they have been able to serve. Targeting special populations is never easy, but Forth Worth managed to exceed their goals through a combination of community partnerships, staff and partner education, and the creative pooling of financial resources.

By the end of 2008, Fort Worth Housing Authority surpassed their target number for homeless clients served by 15 percent, and is projected to achieve an additional 40 percent by the end of 2009.

Housing 101
What started out as an easy way to eliminate confusion about Forth Worth’s various housing programs among housing managers quickly became a springboard for helping the community’s homeless. When FWHA’s Special Program Section developed a one-hour training course for case managers and other direct service providers, here’s what they had in mind to provide:

  • A “Types of Housing” list outlining the various forms of housing from the least restrictive to the most assistive
  • Workflow sheets with a decision tree to walk case managers through housing options to help clients receive the best referral information for their circumstances
  • A phone list with contact names and extensions for each of the program options within the housing department

The general goal was to enhance interagency knowledge, but the program provided far more for everyone involved. Community advocacy groups began requesting the training, and case managers who work within specific populations requested second trainings for new staff and volunteers. As the program grew, additional fact sheets were developed, and now a comprehensive list of housing for the homeless, targeted to population areas of need within the entire county, has been compiled. This list has become an invaluable resource for managers and partners of the housing authority.

Reaching Out to the Homeless Population
FWHA understands that conducting outreach to members of the homeless population can be difficult, not simply because many members lack the ability to travel, but also because of the social dynamics created in an administrative environment. For this reason, FWHA’s Admissions Department started an outreach program for off-site enrollment services, opening business once a month in one of the area’s five homeless shelters. In addition, the outreach program strives to create the friendliest environment possible, sitting down one-on-one with clients and making staff available to answer any questions, rather than speaking across a counter in a bureaucratic setting. Activities such as these prove successful in reaching the goal of providing needed services to those who otherwise would not have access to housing programs.

Excellence in Housing
Although still in the early stages, FWHA exhibits excellence in housing through the profound impact these programs have already had in their community.

2009 Pioneer in Housing Award (Large Agency)
Harris County Housing Authority

 NMA is proud to announce that the 2009 Pioneer in Housing Award in the larger agency category goes to Harris County Housing Authority.

An Unprecedented Event
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, thousands of families were displaced in its wake. With nowhere left to call home, more than 20,000 people headed to Houston.
From the housing authority perspective, as on many levels, the impact of Hurricane Katrina was disastrous. Tens of thousands of people needed homes immediately, and no model was in place to handle such devastation.

Harris County Housing Authority had to think on its feet, and within the initial hours of the crisis alone, HCHA was able to find housing for more than 200 families.

A National Model Is Born
As the catastrophe unfolded, HCHA had to quickly come up with a way to expand its housing stock, and did so by working with Houston area apartment operators and developers and establishing the Housing Choice Center. The center represented a new approach to emergency response—the development of a centralized clearinghouse to arrange long-term shelter for thousands of people at a time.

HCHA did not stop with placing evacuees in apartments, they also worked with corporate partners to provide provisions and social services, and even arranged to provide them resources for employment. Once these housing solutions were in place for more than 23,000 people, HCHA shifted its focus to planning long-term solutions to get families on the road to self-sufficiency. From these ideas, what has since become a national model was born. 

Helping Families Achieve Self-Sufficiency
In 2007, nearly 40,000 families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita remained on federal financial assistance. To help these families achieve self-sufficiency, HUD created the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP). This program, modeled on Harris County’s response to the initial disaster, assists in making rental assistance payments for hurricane survivors previously supported by FEMA, while at the same time adding social and case management services.

DHAP’s success in helping families achieve self-sufficiency centered on addressing the needs and interests of each group involved, including landlords, families, and social service providers. From toolkits containing audience-specific information to an effective case management model that provides families with the necessary tools for self-sufficiency, HCHA’s local and national partnerships helped this program achieve success. By the end of DHAP-Katrina, of the more than 6,000 families and individuals initially enrolled in the Houston area, more than 4,000 had reached the goal of self-sufficiency.

One participant, Andrea Lee described her experience this way, “I’m doing better now than I ever did in New Orleans.” After transitioning to the Harris County DHAP program in 2007, Lee took full advantage of services and found a job in her field of nursing with the help of her case manager. After only eight months, Lee was able to withdraw from the program and purchase her first home through Habitat for Humanity.

Harris County: A True Pioneer
The DHAP-Katrina program officially ended on August 31, 2009, but its legacy remains. Harris County Housing Authority’s hard work and innovation now offers a model for housing authorities across the nation to address disasters, and to help families achieve self-sufficiency in the process.

2009 Pioneer in Housing Award (Small Agency)
Punta Gorda Housing Authority

NMA is proud to announce that Punta Gorda Housing Authority is the recipient of our 2009 Pioneer in Housing Award in the small agency category.

Going Above and Beyond to Enhance Quality of Life
When Punta Gorda housing authority decided to use out of the box thinking to fund and build Gulf Breeze Apartments after a project on the same site was decimated by Hurricane Charley, the development experienced a brisk lease-up upon opening in June 2008, reaching 95 percent by December. It reached 100 percent by January of 2009.

While Gulf Breeze has maintained 100 percent occupancy since that time in spite of a very poor local economy, PGHA and its managing agent Norstar Accolade Management were still not content. All the hard work and effort that they had put into the apartments left them with the desire to further enhance all residents’ quality of life.

Punta Gorda Does It All
Since its opening, Punta Gorda has enriched resident lives at Gulf Breeze through a variety of programs and services. With the help of the computer lab, fitness center, community room, full-service commercial kitchen, and several key community partnerships, these programs and services consist of:

  • An after school program, including a homework assistance program and all-day programming during the summer, free of charge
  • An on-site lunch program in a restaurant-type setting for senior residents and residents with disabilities 
  • A program to educate and empower residents to move beyond rental housing and take the right steps into homeownership
  • Workshops on job preparedness, resume development, and interviewing techniques, in addition to skills assessments, training, and job placement assistance
  • On-site health services and resources, including HIV and Hepatitis testing, stop-smoking programs, flu shots, and immunizations
  • Educational presentations for seniors on a variety of topics 
  • On-site vision, hearing, diabetes, and other health screenings that can assess individuals’ needs and either provide the service needed or connect them with an agency or healthcare provider 
  • Additional resident assistance referral programs including a variety of services—emergency, health, and otherwise
  • Holiday and other special occasion parties 
  • A youth basketball program in which local police officers volunteer their time to coach basketball and mentor children

Recognition as a Leader
Not only has Gulf Breeze’s neighborhood taken notice of the commitment PGHA has made to the community, but they have also been recognized on the national level. In June 2009, Gulf Breeze Apartments received the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award for Public Housing Revitalization. In addition, PGHA is a high performing agency and actively pursues funding to maintain and continue its resident enhancements.

A Pioneer in Housing
It’s clear to see that Punta Gorda works hard to improve residents’ quality of life and maintain partnerships within its community. It goes to show what out of the box, pioneering thinking can accomplish when agencies have the drive to make great things happen.

2009 Champion in Housing Award
Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency

 NMA is pleased to announce Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency as the winner of our 2009 Champion in Housing Award.

Making the Most of GoSection8 and NMA Trainings
Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency is an important vehicle for economic growth in Indiana. With their mission to provide the state of Indiana with the opportunity to live in safe, affordable, good quality housing in economically stable communities, IHCDA invests in its residents.

Over the last year, IHCDA has been unique in its use of GoSection8, using it statewide for Shelter Plus care and other homeless programs, which helps a variety of families all across the state. In addition, IHCDA continues to increase their staff’s skill sets with NMA trainings, and looks to NMA for innovative solutions. When no other providers were willing to work with IHCDA on a comprehensive statewide system for rent reasonableness, NMA helped IHCDA develop a competitive pricing model and has ensured that they receive the data they need in even the most rural locations.

IHCDA on NMA’s Services
“IHCDA continues to choose Nan McKay and Associates because of the professionalism of their staff and trainers. Trainers always leave them with the skills and practical tools they can use in the future.”

A Champion in Housing
Through making the most of NMA’s products and training, IHCDA’s investment in the community helps families, and in turn, the community itself, grow and prosper.