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(Washington, D.C.) January 11, 2022 – The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) is pleased to announce that Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) CEO Jeffery K. Patterson has been named president of CLPHA’s board of directors.
Mr. Patterson was elected at CLPHA’s December 2021 board meeting, and previously served as the board’s vice president. He follows CLPHA’s previous board president, King County Housing Authority (KCHA) Executive Director Stephen Norman, who retired on December 31, 2021.
CLPHA is also pleased to announce that La Shelle Dozier, executive director of the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency, was elected CLPHA vice president and Maria Razo, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino, was elected CLPHA secretary at the board’s December 2021 meeting. Ed Lowndes, executive director of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, MO, was re-elected board treasurer.
"I am honored to be elected president of CLPHA’s board and would like to thank Stephen Norman for his service and leadership upon his well-deserved retirement,” said Patterson. “Decades of chronic disinvestment, an aging housing portfolio and racial inequities have long predated the pandemic. Entering the third year of pandemic, these issues have only been magnified.
“We are at a critical juncture,” Patterson added. “Historic housing investments proposed by the White House and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the Build Back Better Act have stalled in the Senate. CLPHA will continue robust advocacy to ensure these significant housing investments are available to housing authorities across the country who are serving low-income families every day in their local communities.”
“Congratulations to CMHA CEO Jeffery Patterson on being named president of the Board of Directors of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. I was pleased to join him, residents, and city leaders at the recent groundbreaking of the Buckeye-Woodhill Choice Neighborhoods transformation plan, which will provide high quality affordable housing that is connected to economic, educational, and health opportunities in a vibrant neighborhood. I look forward to continuing to work with CEO Patterson in his new role to bring greater affordable housing opportunities to more people and communities in Ohio and across the country,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“Jeffery has been an invaluable asset to CLPHA in his seven years on the board,” said CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman. “He leads in many ways -- as board vice president and chair of the Racial Equity and Inclusion Committee and Communications Committee, but also more locally through the many boards he serves on in the greater Cleveland area. Jeffery has a deep understanding of national housing issues as well as local challenges and solutions, and his commitment to CLPHA will ensure continuity through this leadership transition. I look forward to working with CLPHA’s new board leadership to advance our goals and policy priorities in these unprecedented times.”
Mr. Patterson has served as CMHA’s CEO for ten years and has over thirty years of dedicated service to the residents of Cuyahoga County. As CEO of one of the largest housing authorities in the country, he is responsible for a $230 million dollar budget, approximately 750 employees, 10,500 units of housing, 15,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, and nearly 55,000 residents and participants of CMHA's low-income Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs. He also serves on the board of directors for the Housing Authority Insurance Group, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (Chairman), Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (Vice-Chairman), St. Luke’s Foundation, United Way of Greater Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Unify Labs Inc., University Circle Inc., the Cleveland Public Library Foundation, and the National Kidney Foundation.
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
About CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative
Data-driven ”Community Catalyst” initiative in 23 communities convenes partners across sectors to identify and address community and population health needs; 10 of the initiatives are focused on public housing authority partnerships
MINNETONKA, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UnitedHealthcare today announced a community-based initiative, Community Catalyst, that convenes a broad range of community stakeholders to identify and address specific health care needs of members of the community and residents of publicly assisted housing who are often difficult to reach and serve.
UnitedHealthcare is expanding on its long-term collaboration with the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) by engaging public housing agencies (PHAs), federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and community-based organizations (CBOs) in their mutual commitment to serve as a catalyst to close gaps in care, address health equity challenges, and encourage a greater positive health impact in local communities. By blending clinical data with firsthand information from community members to identify health challenges, the initiative formally brings together local partners to develop a collaborative community plan to address needs and track progress and outcomes.
UnitedHealthcare and its partners will analyze claims, health care utilization and local data to identify communities with large racial and health disparities and challenges. Working together, Community Catalyst initiative partners will develop common goals and collaborative interventions that enable each organization to leverage its capabilities to address the local health challenge. These interventions will be customized to the community and may encompass food insecurity and diabetes management programs that can include trauma-informed care trainings, telehealth and virtual care services, multilingual educational materials, and social services wraparound support.
To date, the priority challenges identified include food insecurity, health disparities such as health literacy and maternal and women’s health, behavioral and mental health, homelessness, access to health care, and chronic disease and diabetes management.
“The needs of communities are as diverse as the communities themselves, and in order to best impact health outcomes in communities, we are creating approaches that are rooted in data and also reflect the perspectives of the people that live and work in the community,” said Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “By working closely with CLPHA, FQHCs, and CBOs, UnitedHealthcare is well-positioned to bring the right partners together to align primary and behavioral health with social needs, creating initiatives that not only improve health outcomes but also provide for equitable care for all.”
UnitedHealthcare and CLPHA announced the first cohort of PHAs with planned programs addressing challenges as identified in: Akron and Columbus, Ohio; Austin and Houston, Texas; and Seattle/King County, Wash. A second cohort of public housing authorities now joining the initiative include: Atlanta Housing Authority, Detroit Housing Commission, Indianapolis Housing Authority, Memphis Housing Authority, and New Orleans Housing Authority.
“UnitedHealthcare's expansion of the Community Catalyst initiative to a second cohort of five additional housing authorities demonstrates the value of public housing authorities to reach low-income families and to provide support services to improve community and population health needs,” said Sunia Zaterman, executive director, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. “CLPHA and our member public housing authorities are excited to work with UnitedHealthcare in this innovative and large-scale effort to bring together housing and health systems in an integrated approach.”
Additionally, UnitedHealthcare plans to launch similar initiatives partnering with FQHCs and CBOs to address community health needs in: Phoenix, Ariz.; Maui, Hawaii; Baton Rouge, La.; Montgomery County, Md.; Detroit, Mich.; Jackson and Clay counties, Mo.; Hinds, Copiah, and Warren, Miss.; Chester, Pa.; Richmond, Va.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Providence and Newport, R.I.
Research shows that 80% of an individual’s health is determined by what happens outside of a doctor’s officei. There are specific local underlying causes that trend in a community and create complex health challenges and barriers for individuals and communities, such as: lack of safe and affordable housing, healthy food and financial stability. In the United States, there are more than 2 million people in public housingii. Nationwide, children in subsidized housing have the lowest rate of enrollment into kindergarteniii.
FQHCs are rooted in local communities and critical to closing access gaps. In fact, 29 million Americans receive care at a FQHC each year, including 1 in 12 people and 1 in 5 people on Medicaid. FQHCs serve approximately 23% of UnitedHealthcare Community & State members at more than 1,300 clinics across the country. They are leading the way when it comes to serving our most vulnerable populations, including serving school-based health centers, military veterans, and homeless and public housing patients.
“UnitedHealthcare has provided ongoing support to our health center so we can better serve members of our community,” said María S. Gomez, president and CEO, Mary's Center. “This initiative is an exciting next step in the journey of collaboration, bringing together the key players in the community to help bridge the gap for people with an array of social and health needs that must be met before we can see a marked improvement in the overall health of our communities.”
This Community Catalyst initiative is one part of UnitedHealthcare’s ongoing efforts to address health equity, promote positive health outcomes and expand access to all. The company is also investing in programs and partnerships focused on food, transportation and social isolation, including $80 million to fight the pandemic and support vulnerable minority populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
CLPHA is a non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis, and public education. Its membership includes 70 of the largest and most innovative public housing authorities across the country, which collectively owns and manages nearly 40 percent of the nation’s public housing stock, administers more than a quarter of the Housing Choice Voucher program, and provides a wide array of other rental assistance. CLPHA members also make vital services available to the more than one million low-income households they serve in federally-assisted housing. CLPHA believes housing authorities are foundational to improving outcomes around housing, families, individuals, and communities. Through their Housing Is Initiative, CLPHA helps build a future where sectors work together to improve life outcomes. Housing stability is a critical first step to improve life outcomes for low-income children, families, and seniors; CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative is based on the premise that sectors can better meet needs when they work together. Housing Is establishes, broadens, and deepens efforts to align affordable housing, education, and health systems to produce positive, long-term results. Learn more at housingis.org and on Twitter @housing_is.
For Immediate Release
April 9, 2021
(Washington, D.C.) April 9, 2021 – The Biden Administration’s recently announced infrastructure proposal, The American Jobs Plan, includes a $40 billion commitment to recapitalize public housing infrastructure. Applying data from a report by Econsult Solutions (ESI), a private data analytics firm, CLPHA estimates that 440,000 jobs will be created and $76 billion in economic impact generated during the time when the $40 billion in funds are spent.
“Investing in public housing infrastructure offers many economic benefits beyond lifting families out of poverty and preventing homelessness,” said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA). “The American Jobs Plan is the first to provide the size and scale of resources necessary to repair the crumbling infrastructure of public housing. In return local employers, governments, and industries will benefit from an economic activity that outpaces investment and creation of good-paying construction jobs.”
CLPHA commissioned ESI to evaluate the economic impacts of six public housing authorities (PHAs) in diverse markets across the country. Released in late 2018, “The Economic Impact of Public Housing: Ongoing Investment with Wide-Reaching Returns” found that PHAs generate and induce multiple streams of economic activity benefiting public housing residents and their local communities. For every $1 million PHAs spend on capital investments, $1.89 million in economic activity is generated and 11 full-time jobs are supported. CLPHA applied the American Jobs Plan’s $40 billion for recapitalizing public housing infrastructure with ESI’s economic impact numbers and found the American Jobs Plan will generate $76 billion in economic activity and 440,00 jobs — a nearly 2 to 1 ratio for economic impact generated to dollars spent.
“After decades of chronic underfunding and disinvestment in public housing infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan can be game changing. Local communities have an opportunity to experience the benefits of a robust public and affordable housing system,” said Zaterman. “Whether it is improving life outcomes for low-income families, creating positive impacts in surrounding neighborhoods of well-maintained public housing, expanding local and state tax bases, or spurring regional job creation and economic growth, public housing is a benefit. It is clear from the American Jobs Plan that the Biden Administration is committed to advancing public housing.”
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
About CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative
(Washington, DC) November 30, 2022 -- Statement from Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, on the importance of finalizing the FY23 appropriations legislation:
“For the millions of families served by public housing authorities, it is critical for Congress to complete the FY23 appropriations legislation before the start of the 118th Congress in January. The leading public housing advocacy organizations, in one voice, call on Congress to get this legislation passed so that our most vulnerable families are not put at risk.
“The consequences of a government shutdown or a series of continuing resolutions, which lock the previous year’s funding levels in place, create uncertainty for PHAs by not accounting for inflation or current shortfalls that could be severe and would amount to a budget cut. It will tie the hands of housing authorities and impact their abilities to provide their residents with safe, secure, and affordable housing.
“These consequences are preventable if Congress passes the FY23 appropriations legislation at the funding levels requested by the public housing organizations in the letter sent to Congress. We look forward to working with Congress as they finalize the legislation.”
David Greer, CLPHA
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
About CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative
(Washington, D.C.) September 9, 2022 – Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, released the following statement upon the Biden administration's finalization of the rule rolling back the public charge rule:
“Today, hard-working immigrants are more welcome in America. The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities applauds the Biden administration’s finalization of the rule unwinding the Trump administration’s pernicious and patently unlawful Public Charge Rule that included housing assistance against immigrants and their families when applying for an adjustment of residency status.
Federal housing assistance exists to keep families together and to lift them up, not to be weaponized to tear them apart. The cruelty of the rule was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as it caused families to opt out of many critical safety net programs, including federal housing assistance.
"CLPHA looks forward to continuing working with the Biden administration to ensure the equitable and compassionate treatment of immigrants and their families when seeking federal housing assistance.”
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities is a national non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education. CLPHA’s 70 members represent virtually every major metropolitan area in the country. Together they manage 40 percent of the nation’s public housing program; administer more than a quarter of the Housing Choice Voucher program; and operate a wide array of other housing programs. Learn more at clpha.org and on Twitter @CLPHA .
(Washington, D.C.) August 5, 2022 -- Council of Large Public Housing Authorities Executive Director Sunia Zaterman released the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program and the Your Home, Your Internet Pilot Program:
"The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) applauds the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adoption of the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program and the one-year Your Home, Your Internet Pilot Program at its Open Commission Meeting today. CLPHA has worked closely with the FCC to help shape these programs through direct dialogue with members of Congress, the FCC, and submitted comments throughout the regulatory process. CLPHA has also been a long-time proponent for digital equity through working with partners, disseminating information via webinars, spotlighting promising practices at conferences, and conducting outreach on opportunities. Today is a strong step forward for serving low-income families living in assisted housing with improved access to high-quality, affordable broadband and devices.
"These initiatives will improve the Biden administration’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a $14 billion long-term initiative that offers up to $30 a month for the costs of internet service for eligible households and builds on the Emergency Broadband Benefit in order to provide more permanent assistance. Public housing authorities have long understood that digital access is critical to improve life outcomes for low-income families living in assisted housing and we are excited for additional support to get more assisted households connected.
"Public housing authorities offer the most effective avenue to connect the highest number of low-income families to broadband access and accomplish the goals of the Affordable Connectivity Program. At CLPHA’s 8th Annual Housing Is Summit in May, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Geoffrey Starks noted this point in his keynote speech, 'When I look at the data where we can reach more vulnerable households…, I consistently come back to housing. I see a clear synergy between housing and connectivity; if we are helping a family secure housing, we should be able to help them secure an internet connection as well.'
"In May 2022 Commissioner Starks also visited Nickerson Gardens, a property of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), a CLPHA member. With 1,000 units, Nickerson Gardens is the largest public housing community west of the Mississippi River. He reported that the ACP Pilot Program had connected 78 percent of the Nickerson Garden units to the internet.
"During today’s open meeting, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel also named CLPHA member the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) and its executive director Vivian Brady-Phillips as an exemplary PHA working on digital inclusion. CLPHA highlighted both HACLA and JCHA during this year’s Housing Is Summit.
"The Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program will provide eligible governmental and non-governmental entities with funding to conduct outreach to eligible low-income households in order to increase awareness of and encourage participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The one-year Your Home, Your Internet Pilot Program aims to increase awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program among recipients of federal housing assistance and facilitate enrollment in the ACP by providing targeted assistance with the ACP application.
"CLPHA will work with its members to ensure they are taking advantage of these programs to help residents access not only to affordable, high-quality broadband and devices, but also digital literacy to utilize these resources."
CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman was quoted in BisNow’s recent article “Biden's Budget Includes 'Once in a Generation' Investment in Vouchers, Public Housing. Now Landlords Need to Get on Board,” offering CLPHA’s perspective on the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan that would allocate $30 billion the Housing Choice Voucher program and $40 billion to public housing.
“To propose this level of investment in one fell swoop, it’s extraordinary,” Zaterman told BisNow. “There’s now a strong consensus that more could have and should have been done in 2008 and 2009 for reinvestment,” she added. “This $40B [proposal] does not meet the overall need, but it is extraordinary in the level that it raises the funding from our current baseline.”
Read BisNow’s article. (requires free registration for access to the article)
NPR’s Pam Fessler quoted CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman in a story about the challenges of utilizing the $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers included in the American Rescue Plan. Zaterman told Fessler that while balancing landlord, tenant and taxpayer interests has always been hard, the situation is more dire than ever in the pandemic with millions of Americans struggling with rent. “There is a need for all of our members, a crying need, for additional vouchers that are serving a wide range of populations,” Zaterman said.
Sunia Zaterman participated in a recent story on the unique opportunities presented by the new administration to address the nation’s dire affordable housing shortage as part of Fast Company’s Home Bound, a series that examines Americans’ fraught relationship with their homes.
“Our focus now is assembling the tools to give housing authorities more ability to acquire properties and to bring to neighborhoods other types of affordable housing,” Zaterman told Fast Company of CLPHA’s goals to capitalize on this inflection point in the public and affordable housing industry. She added that while the new HUD administration’s more flexible rules help housing authorities create more affordable housing in their communities, the main need facing PHAs and affordable housing providers is more money: “You may have heard this before—money is the key obstacle.”
This week, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman was quoted in The Washington Post's article "In George Floyd’s old neighborhood, Biden’s war on poverty faces a crucial test." The article examines the potential impacts of President Biden's American Rescue Plan on families in poverty through a focus on Houston's Cuney Homes public housing community, where George Floyd lived much of his life before his killing in police custody.
“If we don’t make a difference in individual lives, then we really haven’t done the job yet,” Zaterman said of the Biden plan's antipoverty efforts. “The folks in the community that George Floyd grew up in — that is our test of whether our models, our resources, our impact has hit our target.”
This morning, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss public and affordable housing issues and President Biden's proposed American Jobs Plan.
Ms. Zaterman answered questions from host Pedro Echevarria and members of the public from around the country, explaining what public housing authorities do, who they serve, and why increasing funding for public housing, vouchers, and other HUD programs is crucial to preserving affordable housing opportunities, strengthening the social safety net, and improving the life outcomes of low income Americans. She also discussed the positive impacts of the American Jobs Plan -- CLPHA estimates that 440,000 jobs will be created and $76 billion in economic impact generated during the time when the $40 billion in funds from the Plan are spent.
On Friday, April 9 from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. ET, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman will appear on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss President Biden's proposed American Jobs Plan, public and affordable housing, and related issues. Read Ms. Zaterman’s statement applauding President Biden’s announcement of the American Jobs Plan here.
You can watch Ms. Zaterman’s interview on the C-SPAN channel or live on C-SPAN's website and ask questions of Ms. Zaterman during the program via phone:
Outside U.S. and Text: (202) 748-8003
Republicans: (202) 748-8001
Democrats: (202) 748-8000
Independents: (202) 748-8002
HUD has announced a total of $116 million in Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program awards to 714 PHAs. The awards include $109 million to 682 PHAs for the 2022 Renewal FSS Program, and an additional $6 million to 32 PHAs and 38 Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) owners for the 2022 New FSS Program. These funds will be used to assist families in increasing their assets and improving their financial stability through the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program.
A total of 62 CLPHA members received $24,321,429 in FSS renewal awards, which will fund 267 renewal positions. CLPHA would like to congratulate its members who received an award.
Today HUD also published an updated version of the FSS Program Guidebook that encompasses information on the new FSS rule and support for PBRA owners. This guidebook will be a key resource for the 70 new FSS programs that were announced today.
The FSS Program was greatly expanded in 2022. New regulations published in May removed potential barriers to the program by allowing any adult household member to apply (not just the Head of Household) and eliminating a cap on savings for higher earners. FY22 was the first year ever that PBRA owners were eligible to apply for funding.
The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is one of the leading housing authorities in the field of digital equity, offering several services to residents to improve digital inclusion. Eight years ago, HACA identified that their residents were missing out on the many online services and opportunities due to the digital divide – that is, the gap between those who have consistent access to modern information and communications networks, technology, and devices and those who do not. At that time, when 94% of the city’s residents had an internet plan, only about 4% of HACA residents had one. Today 77% of HACA residents have a consistent very high-speed internet connection in their unit, thanks to a zero-cost partnership between HACA and Google Fiber. In 2023, HACA expects to achieve 100% connectivity for residents by connecting four additional properties, thanks to PCs for People and Indeed.
HACA Community Health Worker Myra Rubaclava leads a Google Fiber crew at a senior property. Rubaclava, who completed digital navigator training with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and has served as a HACA resident Digital Ambassador. Rubaclava “prescribes” digital tools training for residents who can benefit in their health plans.
Without a free internet service, resources like telehealth, online bill payment, and opportunities for educational and workforce development were out of reach for residents, negatively impacting their abilities to utilize essential online services. HACA’s Head of Strategic Initiatives Catherine Crago shared with CLPHA the work that the agency is doing to bridge this gap in digital equity, the importance of partnerships, and the amount of residents’ input needed to make this endeavor successful.
In November, 2014 HACA launched the Unlocking the Connection initiative to bridge the digital divide for their residents. The goals of HACA’s initiative were to:
HACA families learn to register for Austin Independent School District’s Parent Portal at a 2019 Back to School event. Laptops were provided by Charter Spectrum.
Under the initiative, residents at 14 properties receive free, high quality internet through Google Fiber or guidance on how to register for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, refurbished devices, as well as digital literacy training catered to all ages.
Catherine said that providing residents with just the basic equipment and internet connection outlined in the first goal is not enough to achieve digital equity. The second goal is achieved by engaging HACA residents to help their neighbors to use this connection to further their goals and aspirations. The final goal of the initiative, and HACA’s wider mission of advancing digital equity, is achieved by building trust, facilitating civic engagement, and ensuring that all individuals they serve are equally able to connect to the digital world.
To successfully carry out these goals, HACA has partnered with both local and national organizations. Over the past six years, along with 157 IT interns from the Austin Community College, over 120 HACA residents have been hired and trained as stipend-paid Digital Ambassadors to help with the initiative. These resident Digital Ambassadors often act as liaisons between the residents and technology companies, informing the companies of HACA residents’ built environments and needs, while serving as a bridge to ensure residents are informed about how to use a company’s technology safely. This relationship has been extremely useful to residents who reported feeling uncomfortable with allowing internet service providers into their homes due to safety and COVID concerns during the pandemic. In addition to working with the liaison team, Digital Ambassadors at HACA can work on different intervention teams including outreach, research and engineering, and education. All of the teams center on building residents’ trust and concerns, as well as advocating for residents’ needs within their individual teams. HACA’s Digital Ambassadors met with peers in other cities to expand their thinking about how navigator programs could operate and share best practices on how best to serve their residents.
At HACA's 2019 Back to School event.
Catherine said it is important to choose partnerships wisely, especially when considering corporate partnerships. To other public housing authorities looking to engage in this work, she advises to first consider the problem you're facing, figure out who is working to solve the same issue, and what you can learn from other public housing authorities working toward this same goal. The next step is to create partnerships with those organizations who have assets and resources that you may need to accomplish your shared goal. For example, a city ordinance requires micro-mobility providers, such as eBike and scooter providers, to serve every part of the city, not just downtown. In its partnership with Lyft, Lyft provided reduced-price mobility memberships and income opportunities for HACA residents at properties across the city. Austin Energy has invested in training Mobility Ambassadors to teach their neighbors how to use app-enabled eBikes around the city for short trips – and has made the year-long MetroBike membership free for HACA residents. Last Fall, Austin Energy and BikeTexas led a transit adventure from a senior property to a local grocery store – residents learned to download the eBike application, create their account and interact with the digital interface to unlock bikes.
The role of residents in developing this initiative has been critical to its success. Digital equity is important to HACA because of how necessary it is to ensure residents’ rights and autonomy. While developing the initiative HACA focused on residents’ wants and needs and ensured their participation throughout the entire process. With trust being one of the major barriers to overcome in an initiative like this, HACA involved residents in designing the program, through focus groups, innovation teams, and its Digital Ambassador program so that they were able to build trust while bringing this initiative to life. Catherine characterized HACA’s strategy to include residents early on when developing initiatives by citing a method from the Agile Development Theory of product development, saying, “We start slow and small to go fast.” For HACA, being and slow and deliberate at first, carefully soliciting and incorporating resident voices during the development of their Unlocking the Connection initiative, led to a smoother, more efficient rollout of the program that holistically and thoughtfully connects residents with more online services, resources, and opportunities.
PHAs are uniquely well-positioned to help bridge the digital divide given that they house and provide services to some of our nation’s lowest-income and most disconnected families. To learn more about how PHAs like HACA are pioneering this important work, and how CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative supports the advancement of digital equity initiative, visit .
At Lakeside Apartments, HACA residents learn to use the digital tools they need to unlock free eBikes before a group ride to the local grocery store. Austin Energy and MetroBike invested in bridging the digital divide to catalyze adoption of EVs by low-income residents.
From the Seattle Housing Authority's press release:
Mayor Bruce Harrell and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are partnering with the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) to provide free unlimited-use ORCA cards to all residents living in SHA-owned and managed housing through December 2026. This pairing between an affordable housing program and an accessible public transit initiative is the first of its kind at this comprehensive scale in the United States. The SHA Transit Pass program will benefit more than 10,000 SHA residents by helping them save money on transportation and encouraging increased transit use.
This three-year program removes the cost burden of transit for residents in affordable housing. The fully subsidized ORCA cards are funded by the Seattle Transit Measure, a voter-approved sales tax that expires in April 2027. The program offers a benefit to every person who is 19 years old or older and listed on the lease of an SHA property (anyone 18 or younger may already ride transit for free). The unlimited-ride ORCA cards benefit expires on December 31, 2026.
The expansion will serve 99 unique SHA properties and communities, more than 7,300 households, and over 10,000 residents. Access to free ORCA cards will provide residents with reliable, convenient, affordable transportation options to meet their needs, from medical appointments to essential services.
From Lucas Metropolitan Housing's press release:
Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) leaders today joined with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) as well as business and government officials to celebrate the grand opening of LMH’s new headquarters at the site of the former United Way of Greater Toledo building on Jackson Street in Toledo, marking the first time in the authority’s 90-year history that it has consolidated all client service operations into one downtown location.
“We are eager to help start writing the next chapter in the story of the heart of the city of Toledo,” said LMH President and CEO Joaquin Cintron-Vega during a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning that preceded a public open house with guided tours.
"Company culture is the lifeblood that keeps Lucas Metropolitan Housing healthy and thriving, and a positive culture is greatly enhanced and more easily fostered and influenced when employees share the same workspace,” Cintron-Vega said.
The new office brings 77 LMH employees downtown and will serve as LMH's primary administrative office to support both its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs, administer homeownership opportunities and coordinate its self-sufficiency programming. The acquisition also allows LMH to consolidate four of its offices (Nebraska Ave., Byrne Rd., Indiana Ave., Belmont Ave.) into a single location, resulting in operating cost savings for the agency.
"This move will allow for efficiencies in the physical space while encouraging greater peer-to-peer interactions and relationships with managers,” said LMH Board of Commissioners Chair Alisha Gant. “In addition, we believe it will result in a better customer service experience for our clients."
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