Friday, September 24, 2010
HARRIS COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY HONORS SOCIAL SERVICE PARTNERS WITH PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR THEIR WORLD CLASS DEDICATION TO MANKIND
Success of DHAP Program Largely Attributable to the Commitment of Partners
HOUSTON – The Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA) today honored five local social service agencies for their exceptional service and commitment to the implementation of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Guy Rankin, CEO and executive director of the HCHA and the HCHA’s Board of Commissioners presented this esteemed award to Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Houston Area Urban League, Harris County Community Services Department, City of Houston’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Focused Care Project and Family Services of Greater Houston for their “World Class Dedication to Mankind.”
The HCHA partnered with each of these five social service agencies to provide essential social services and case management support to more than 6,500 families that participated in the DHAP Harris County Katrina/Rita program and case management services to more than 2,500 families in 41 states throughout the country through the housing authority’s national program for disasters DHAP USA.
“The unique care and support of the Harris County Housing Authority's leadership coupled with the DHAP Program’s focus on self-sufficiency enabled our case management efforts to soar,” said Carolyn Scantlebury, Project Manager with City of Houston’s Focused Care Project.
The DHAP Program has been instrumental in placing families into safe and sanitary housing following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and now Ike. The program is unique in that it encompasses a critical social services element so families could be given the tools needed to rely less on government assistance and more on themselves.
“We are so grateful to our amazing social service partners,” said Guy Rankin, CEO and Executive Director, Harris County Housing Authority. “Without their dedication and commitment to providing top-notch social services and case management to families in need, DHAP would not have been the success it is today.”
“We are honored to receive this award,” said Angela Blanchard, president and CEO, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. “Thousands of people relied on the DHAP program and the efforts of case management staff to get back on their feet and reach permanent self-sufficiency. Our team was privileged to work with the HCHA as a part of this amazing effort.”
About the Harris County Housing Authority
The Harris County Housing Authority operates housing-choice voucher programs and family self-sufficiency programs for more than 4,100 families of Harris County. It also has developed seven senior affordable housing developments and one single-family neighborhood. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has given the Authority its highest performance rating for six years in a row. For more information visit: www.hchatexas.org.
Michael and Nancy Schnell stand in front of their gutted home, which was damaged during Hurricane Ike in Shoreacres.
Hurricane Ike damaged almost half the homes in Harris County and left more than 18,000 dwellings uninhabitable, according to a detailed assessment by the Harris County Housing Authority.
Hardest hit was the small Galveston Bay community of Shoreacres, an all-residential town where 58.6 percent of the homes were destroyed or suffered greater than 50 percent damage, according to the assessment provided to the Houston Chronicle Tuesday.
The report, based on inspections of 774,000 of the county’s 994,000 residential units from Sept. 23 through Nov. 13, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the destruction caused by Ike, although it’s limited to residential damage in Harris County.
Harris County officials asked the housing authority to conduct the assessment in part because no standardized method existed for communities to assess disaster impacts, said Guy Rankin, the authority’s chief executive. He said he hopes the techniques developed for this study will be adopted throughout the country.
A team of 200 inspectors fanned out across the county and observed damage to houses, apartments and mobile homes. Homes determined to have major damage — 51 percent or more of their value — were considered uninhabitable.
The study concluded that 48 percent of the county’s dwelling units sustained minor damage — 50 percent of value or less. Less than 1 percent sustained major damage.
The authority can conduct the same study for Galveston, Jefferson or other counties affected by Ike if asked to do so, Rankin said. The county is paying the study’s $3.5 million cost and will seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.
The data also will help local officials plan for housing needs in Ike’s aftermath, Rankin said. He’s particularly concerned about the potential for thousands of houses with damaged roofs to deteriorate if owners don’t repair them promptly.
The findings didn’t surprise Nancy Schnell, whose family has been living in a travel trailer parked on its property in Shoreacres while contractors gutted the family house for rebuilding.
As she spoke Tuesday, Schnell watched children step off a school bus and walk down a street piled high with debris from gutted houses.
“It’s horrific,” Schnell said of the conditions in Shoreacres, where she said the first FEMA mobile homes didn’t arrive until three months after Ike’s Sept. 13 landfall.
The value of Shoreacres homes left uninhabitable by Ike totaled $27 million, the report states.
The assessment identified $8.2 billion in residential property damage in Harris County, down slightly from the $8.5 billion preliminary estimate released by the housing authority in October.
Generally, small cities and unincorporated areas sustained major damage to more of their homes than Houston did, although the monetary value of damaged property in Houston was higher, at $4.6 billion, because of generally higher property values in the city.
El Lago, a southeast Harris County town of about 4,100 people, was a distant second to Shoreacres in major damage, with 12.6 percent of its homes destroyed or sustaining greater than 50 percent damage. Next were Seabrook, 11.4 percent, and Nassau Bay, 10.1 percent.
The report includes the Harris County Flood Control District’s assessment of flooding caused by Ike’s storm surge and rainfall. The storm surge reached 10 to 12 feet in southeast Harris County from Morgan’s Point to Kemah, the district reported.
The combined effects of the surge and wave action of 4 to 6 feet accounted for the devastation in Shoreacres, the flood control district said. A similar effect occurred in the Galveston County communities of San Leon and Bacliff.
Originally posted by Mike Sny der in the Houston Chro nicle
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Guy R. Rankin, IV is the Chief Executive Officer for the Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA), a governmental agency which serves more than 1.7 million people and a service area of approximately 1100 square miles. With over 20 years of housing and community development experience, Mr. Rankin has garnered a reputation for excellence through accomplished change and innovation. Under his visionary leadership, HCHA has grown from a troubled agency to one of the best housing authorities in the country as recognized by the U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.
Rankin’s strong analytical skills, combined with his extensive financial and programmatic knowledge of housing and community development gives HCHA the edge in managing multiple programs in a dynamic and complex environment. As CEO, Mr. Rankin has complete managerial oversight of all Authority programs including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Senior Housing Program, Assisted Housing Program, Single Room Occupancy Program and the Homeownership Program.
Rankin is considered to be the best affordable housing leader in America when it comes to managing a Housing Authority. From 2005- 08, Rankin developed over 1,000 new affordable housing units for the citizens of Harris County, worth over 100 million dollars. This strong performance has not gone unnoticed, but has earned HCHA national recognition. Under Rankin’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave HCHA its highest ranking for six consecutive years, rating the Agency as the highest performing housing authority in its region.
As one of America’s most talented and innovative leaders, Mr. Rankin has not only been able to deliver the highest quality housing to people in need, he has also helped clients to achieve self sufficiency and independence. In 2005, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Rankin housed over 25,000 people through the Houston Astrodome in 18 days by creating America’s first long-term disaster housing assistance program. His leadership and program design led to more than 36,000 families being serviced in the Houston area. In 2007, Rankin was appointed by HUD to manage the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) in Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA and in various other cities located in 41 states throughout the United States. Because of Rankin’s extraordinary leadership, the DHAP Program serves as a national model to help families end their long-term reliance on government assistance after an emergency or disaster strikes.
Rankin has a reputation for bringing about change in the perception of pubic sector operations by applying a private sector business model which recognizes excellence in service and sacrifice. Key elements to his success include developing a strong team, addressing community needs first, and implementing intense audit and financial controls
Before joining the Harris County Housing Authority, Rankin was the Chief Operating Officer for the Harris County Community Development Department. Rankin also served as the Planning Director for the City of LaPorte, Texas.
National and Best Practice Experience
Successfully Changed a Troubled Housing Authority into One of America’s Best
As CEO of the Harris County Housing Authority, Guy Rankin successfully changed a troubled housing Authority into one of America’s Best. The HCHA administers its housing programs in accordance with HUD regulations while carrying out its mission to “promote innovative housing communities and assist families to achieve self sufficiency.” For six consecutive years, the HCHA has received national recognition from HUD as the highest performing housing authority in its region.
Created and Implemented America’s first Mass Housing Disaster Plan (Houston Astrodome -2005 following Hurricane Katrina).
When the United States Housing & Urban Development (HUD) entered into an inter-agency agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to create the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), it had in mind an agency with the credibility and the sense of excellence needed to be the benchmark for the program’s administration. Guy Rankin and the Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA), proving capable of performing at the highest level, was asked to design a model of how the DHAP program should be run. Indicated below are some of HCHA’s performance highlights accomplished under the leadership of Guy Rankin.
· HCHA currently administers the DHAP for Harris County, Greater New Orleans and on a national scale throughout 41 states.
· HCHA administers monthly rental assistance payments to property owners on behalf of DHAP families. To date, HCHA has paid over $153 million in payments for the last 12 months.
· HCHA has mastered how to assist families on the road to self sufficiency, proving them capable of managing a massive national program and passing various audits with zero findings for the past six years.
· HCHA has invested in its greatest resource by providing training and certifications to over 400 staff members and 100 new property inspectors.
· HCHA designed three (3) state of the art DHAP Centers (each built within 30-days) to conduct day to day DHAP operations. DHAP Harris County 24,000 sq. ft., DHAP Greater New Orleans 33,000 sq. ft., and DHAP USA 3,000 sq. ft.
· HCHA demonstrates its ability to successfully collaborate with community leaders and business partners to place families in intermediate housing and build centers that accommodate displaced families with dignity and respect;.
· HCHA is the “go to” agency when a disaster strikes leaving families displaced and in need of intermediate rental subsidy assistance. Milan Ozdinec, Deputy Assistant secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development says, ‘The Harris County Housing Authority has been there from the start to support families displaced by the hurricanes; it has done a remarkable job running the DHAP program…” HUD cites Guy Rankin’s leadership and the Harris County Housing Authority’s previous DHAP success as the reason it tapped the agency for an expanded role.