Five Developments Receive NAHMA Communities of Quality Top Honors
The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) announces five communities were selected as the 2017 winners of its annual Communities of Quality® (COQ) Awards program. Since 1992, these awards have honored the best multifamily affordable housing communities across the country.
Entrants are judged on how they manage the physical, financial and social conditions of their properties, and on how well they convey their success in offering the highest quality of life for their residents.
The 2017 COQ Awards will be presented at NAHMA’s annual winter meeting, March 4-6, in Washington, D.C. For details on the NAHMA meeting, visit https://www.nahma.org/meetings/.
“This year, we had 46 entrants proving that the Communities of Quality Awards program continues to thrive and to be a point of pride for all the contenders,” NAHMA Executive Director Kris Cook, CAE, said. “There is no other award that focuses so comprehensively on the everyday life and management expertise of affordable housing properties.”
NAHMA’s 2017 COQ Awards program is jointly sponsored by HD Supply Multifamily Solutions, a leading supplier of maintenance and renovation products to the multihousing industry, and Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, a leading provider of consulting and development services to public housing authorities and HUD’s Section 8 PBCA for Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and Connecticut.
NAHMA congratulates the four winners.
- Exemplary Family Development: Powdermill Village, Westfield, Mass.; Owner: Peabody Westfield LTD Partnership; Management: Peabody Properties Inc.; AHMA: NEAHMA
- Exemplary Development for the Elderly: Clayton Mews, Clayton, N.J.; Owner: Clayton Providence House; Management Company: Community Realty Management; AHMA: JAHMA
- Exemplary Development for Residents with Special Needs: Roebling Arms, Roebling, N.J.; Owner: Multiple Sclerosis Association of America; Management Company: PRD Management Inc.; AHMA: JAHMA
- Exemplary Development for Single Room Occupancy Housing: Paul Braswell Residential, Cleveland, Miss.; Owner: Life Help Region IV Mental Health; Management Company: The Columbia Property Group; AHMA: SAHMA
- Outstanding Turnaround of a Troubled Property: Casa Farnese Apartments, Philadelphia, Penn.; Owner: Casa Farnese Board of Directors; Management Company: PRD Management Inc.; AHMA: PennDel AHMA
About HD Supply Multifamily Solutions
With 50,000-plus items and free, next-day delivery on most items to most areas, HD Supply Multifamily Solutions is your source for maintenance supplies, fabrication, installation and renovation services. Our 700-plus account representatives serve more than 130 markets, providing personalized service backed by the strength of a national company. For more information visit, hdsupplysolutions.com.
About Navigate Affordable Housing Partners
Based in Birmingham, Ala., Navigate Affordable Housing Partners is HUD’s Section 8 PBCA for Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and Connecticut. With a strong reputation for customer service and training, Navigate oversees a portfolio of more than 70,000 units. Navigate has a history of developing, owning and managing HUD assisted properties in Alabama and has recently begun providing consulting and development services to public housing authorities. For further information, visit navigatehousing.com.
A brief summary of the award-winning developments follows.
Powdermill Village is made up of 250 apartment homes and townhouses spread out over 12 buildings in Westfield, Mass., at the foothills of the Berkshires. Because of its location near major transportation routes, residents are able to access local recreational activities including Amelia Park and Stanley Park, and take advantage of the closeness to Westfield State College. The community features include outdoor balcony/patio space, outdoor pool, playground, large community space and basketball court. The community is home to more than 250 youth and a large Russian immigrant population.
In an effort to avoid the criminal activities of the greater community such as gangs, drug use and culturally driven disputes, the Powdermill Village Tenant’s Association has fostered relationships with several local civic, religious and government agencies in an effort to create structured recreational programs that instill character development skills, respect for diversity, a sense of teamwork, self-empowerment and peer leadership, especially for the younger residents. Such partnerships have included the Westfield Police Department, Jewish and Family Services, Lutheran Family Services, the YMCA of Greater Westfield, the Boy Scouts of America, Massachusetts State Police, Westfield State College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, just to name a few.
The most beneficial partnership was created with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, which provides annual all-inclusive on-site summer programming for interested youth through a MassHousing Youth Resident Activities Program grant.
Besides children’s programs, Powdermill holds an annual CommUnity Day, which is a day to celebrate the residents, their differences, similarities and all that makes the community an amazing place to live.
Additionally, there are monthly resident meetings and MassHousing Tenant Assistant Programs ranging from Reptile’s Rock to fall prevention to Zumba and more. The seniors and residents with disabilities have access to the Peabody Resident Services Inc. Home Care program, which provides assistance with daily living activities such as personal care, medication cueing and housekeeping, among others.
In 2015, the community’s resident services manager was awarded the NEAHMA Resident Services Professional of the Year Award, and in 2012, she received the New England Resident Service Coordinator Excellence in Service Award.
Clayton Mews, located in Clayton, N.J., is a 55-plus Low-Income Housing Tax Credit senior apartment community made up of 103 one-bedroom units, with 50 percent of the residents’ income at or below 50 percent of the area median income and the remaining residents below 60 percent of the area median income. The community has 14 Section 8 voucher holders and is highly recommended by the Housing Authority of Gloucester County and the state of New Jersey Division of Community Affairs.
Units include an oversized bathroom, ample sized bedroom, living room, eat-in kitchen, secure entry, 24-hour maintenance and all utilities. A portion of the units are handicapped accessible.
Clayton Mews has a long list of activities designed to educate or improve residents’ quality of life while creating a sense of belonging including movie nights, Silver Sneakers chair exercises, flu shots, bingo, health screenings, an annual dinner with the mayor, crime and scam prevention classes presented by the Clayton Police Department and resident birthday parties, among others.
The property manager collaborates with the Resident Committee to tailor programs according to the ongoing changing needs of the residents. Clayton Mews has formed numerous partnerships including with Kennedy Hospital and Kennedy Hospital Health Services, which provides a licensed nurse to come to residents’ apartments by appointment.
Additionally, the property has partnered with Fox Rehab, which provides monthly seminars on various health topics, gives free screenings and provides evaluations at a resident’s request. Also, a local podiatrist makes monthly house calls.
The residents are also involved in the greater community. Through an Angel Tree program organized by the local Salvation Army, residents were able to grant a small wish to more than 50 families. Every year, the residents hold a Veterans’ Day ceremony and have Stockings for Soldiers, which leads to several residents adopting a service member to keep in touch with throughout
Roebling Arms was built on land that was donated by the town of Roebling, N.J., and opened in 1998. It was designed to focus on serving the special needs of individuals with mobility impairments. It is a two-story, 24-unit, barrier-free facility that offers residents a feeling of independence that they cannot experience in a traditional apartment building. Residents include both the elderly and those with disabilities, including five residents with service animals.
The federally subsidized housing complex features many special conveniences to help the mobility impaired live an independent lifestyle. Roebling Arms offers amenities specially designed to assist with residents’ quality of life, including 36-inch wide doors, raised electrical outlets, wheelchair-accessible sinks and cabinets, roll-in showers, emergency pull chords in the bathrooms and bedrooms, among others.
The community room, with its wide-screen theater system and small kitchen, is a fun gathering place where residents celebrate birthdays, play bingo, have movie nights, host luncheons and celebrate the holidays. Outside, a gazebo overlooks a county park with wheelchair accessible walkways and provides a peaceful space for residents to enjoy. There are also on-site laundry facilities, an intercom guest entry system and computer-learning center with high-speed internet access.
The resident must qualify under the income limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the occupancy policy established by the property’s sponsor, the New Jersey Affordable Housing Preservation Corporation. Monthly rent is based upon the resident’s income using a formula specified by HUD.
The community has formed relationships with the township officials, police department, fire department and local emergency medical technicians, as well as with the Office of Aging, Burlington County Community Action Program and Burlington County Board of Social Services.
The community has received several awards over the years, including the New Jersey Apartment Association Property Manager of the Year every year since 2008, and as well as Maintenance Technician of the Year five times since 2010, Excellence in Property Management three times, Excellence in Resident Relations and Property Office Staff of the Year for Office Assistant twice.
Roebling Arms also provides activities throughout the year ranging from Muffin Mondays to holiday luncheons to health care seminars and more through the “Residents Host” program, which encourages the residents to take ownership over the activity calendar.
Paul Braswell Residential
Paul Braswell Residential is a Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities group home located in the heart of Cleveland, Miss. It is 18 years old and has 12 single-room units. The property provides a therapeutic-like setting that is in operation seven days a week with round-the-clock supervision. It is used as a transitional residence to assist individuals as they move from an institutional setting to a less restrictive supervised setting where the average stay is six months. However, a longer-term placement is available for those who are not yet prepared for independent living.
The residents are offered a number of programs including training in daily living skills such as meal preparation, doing laundry, medication management, grooming and hygiene, social skills, and housekeeping and maintenance skills. The progress residents make is measured using a “Road to Independence” form where they must maintain a minimum score of 60 for a period of eight weeks to be considered for a discharge or transfer to another program.
The property also provides three meals a day and snacks, which have been developed by a registered dietitian. Residents are held to a daily schedule during the week, while on weekends, they have more leisure time that includes transportation to church, shops and community activities.
The staff works hard to keep the residents busy, so that they are not cooped up in their units all day. There are birthday parties to help make residents feel special. They also decorate and hold holiday parties.
The programs and activities offered at Paul Braswell Residential are designed to help residents in moving to their next phase in life, and the staff genuinely cares about the residents as reflected in the numerous letters received from family members complimenting the staff on the attention their loved ones received while living there, as well as providing updates since the resident has moved on.
The center is doing well financially as its reserves are fully funded, rent is 100 percent collected and there are no vacancies. The property has also received a perfect score on its Real Estate Assessment Center inspection.
Casa Farnese Apartments
Casa Fermi—later renamed Casa Farnese in 2004—opened in 1966 with Section 202 financing, which was new at the time, and was the first senior affordable housing community of its kind in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With 18 floors and 288 apartments, it stood in a centrally located Philadelphia neighborhood and was luxurious by the standards of the day, including amber-colored granite from Italy, private balconies for each unit, a common area large enough for dances, meetings and musical performances, and an outdoor patio and coffee shop.
Over the decades, the lack of rent increases combined with rising costs had a negative impact and by 2003, the building was in need of major repair. The property had financial and physical issues including an annual deficit of $110,000, no records of deferred maintenance, inconsistent bookkeeping, collections issues, appliances and equipment that had not been upgraded since 1966, no social services and more.
When hired in 2003, PRD Management began addressing the most critical issues first. Over the course of next three years, PRD put spending controls in place and implemented a savings plan that resulted in $46,000 in the first 12 months. It created a maintenance plan along with strict cleaning and work order systems, increased rent by 28 percent and was able to secure financing through four sources to address repair needs.
By 2008, a social services coordinator was hired through a partnership with a local senior center. Additionally, internal spaces and mechanical rooms were painted, lightened and cleaned.
However, in 2009, a major riser failure forced PRD to rework the maintenance plan to guarantee that physical conditions, people and paperwork would all be addressed and managed effectively. Additionally, a new manager helped PRD get a hold of the growing vacancy issue.
In 2010, PRD collaborated with Drexel University where civil, architectural and environmental engineering students conducted a study to review what to do about a failed expansion joint, to identify energy conservation measures and to increase marketability and serviceability. The resulting report provided several innovative ideas.
The building underwent an $11 million renovation between 2014-2016 while it remained fully occupied. Casa Farnese, named for Andrew Farnese who first envisioned building the apartments so he and his friends could age in place, celebrated the end of construction and its 50th anniversary in 2016 with a rededication party for residents.
Past Award Winners:
® Communities of Quality is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Disclaimer: Properties that meet the COQ National Recognition criteria may hold themselves forth to the public as such. However, NAHMA and the AHMAs do not assume and hereby disclaim any and all liability to any person or entity for any claims, damages, liability or other loss including, without limitation, any liability for injury or other damage resulting from any use of or reliance on the information provided through the COQ National Recognition and Awards Program. NAHMA and the AHMAs do not make any express or implied warranties, representations or endorsements whatsoever, or in any way, regarding the properties listed as COQ National Recognition or Award Winners.