Hudson Housing Authority delivers upbeat news to board

HUDSON–To date, nobody who lives in Bliss Tower or Columbia Apartments has been diagnosed with Covid-19. That fact was reported by Tim Mattice, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) at the authority’s Board of Commissioners meeting April 8. He credited the work of the authority’s staff for that news.

Also announced at the meeting was the completion of the HHA’s conversion from public housing to a RAD (rental assistance demonstration) project and two new board members, Edrick Brown and Revonda Smith.

The HHA operates the income-restricted 120-unit Bliss Tower in Hudson, the 15-unit Columbia Apartments on the same grounds and the Section 8 voucher program for housing elsewhere in Hudson.

Mr. Brown said he has lived in Bliss about 10 years, adding, “I love it here. I am dedicated to doing my best for the people of this building.”

Mr. Mattice said Mr. Brown “has been very active in the building.”

Mr. Brown was elected in by his fellow Bliss residents in March to serve as a commissioner for two years. Now the Board had two tenant commissioners: Mr. Brown and Robert Davis.

Ms. Smith said she “was born and raised in Hudson and “my first apartment was in Bliss. It was a great experience.” Now as a commissioner, she said, “I’m looking forward to helping you all with this process. I hope I can bring something really good to the table.” She said she is 32 years old.

‘The staff had been exemplary in every way.’

Tim Mattice, executive director

Hudson Housing Authority (HHA)

The Columbia County Board of Elections website lists Ms. Smith as a voting machine/HAVA specialist/Democrat. She was selected for the HHA Board by Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson.

HAVA is the Help America Vote Act, adopted after the 2000 presidential election.

Mr. Mattice welcomed the two new commissioners, saying: “You’ve embarked on a really exciting and challenging endeavor. We are a dynamic board. Our mission is to provide decent, safe and affordable housing for the City of Hudson. Thank-you for dedicating your time.” The HHA Board now has six of the seven commissioners it is authorized to have.

To keep Covid-19 at bay, the HHA maintenance staff has been cleaning and disinfecting the entrance way, the elevators, and the common room more than daily. This is “working out quite well,” said Mr. Mattice. “The staff had been exemplary in every way.”

With the HHA’s physical office closed, the organization continues to provide weekly notices and updates for the tenants and has set up a drop box outside for residents to submit paperwork such as various applications. Much of the extra cleaning occurs on evenings and weekends.

In addition, said Board Chairman Randall Martin, the HHA has hired two Bliss tenants to help with extra cleaning. The arrangement is for 90 days. Mr. Mattice indicated their pay would be the $200 a month stipend allowed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under the Tenants’ Services Clause. “We sent out a notice to tenants and got a number of applicants,” he said.

Commissioner Davis said he noticed the hiring of one tenant, who “cleans in the afternoon from 5 to 8” and for 3 hours on weekends. On Saturday, one “maintenance guy” cleans in the morning, one cleans in the afternoon, and the tenant cleans in the evening.

Mr. Mattice also thanked Hudson Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga (D-2nd Ward) for giving the HHA a dozen washable cloth masks she was able to obtain. She “went out of her way to call me” and asked if the HHA needed them, said Mr. Mattice.

Also at the meeting:

• The board passed a resolution to hire Mr. Davis as a Security Guard/Health Safety Officer. “We haven’t had a security guard in the building for a while,” said Mr. Mattice. In addition, Mr. Davis “understands the direction we want to take the building. He said that made him a good candidate for “enforcing our policies and monitor activities in the building.”

Mr. Mattice said he would write an outline of Mr. Davis’ responsibilities. For this, Mr. Davis would receive a stipend of $200 a month.

“He’s going to do more than what we’re paying him for,”said Mr. Martin

• Now that the HHA has officially converted to RAD status the authority can seek loans from private banks. It had a lender for a construction loan, but the terms would have put the HHA at a disadvantage. Now, said Mr. Mattice, “We’re open to other lenders” and their products, as well as getting a better deal from the original lender

• Commissioner Rebecca Wolff wondered what would happen to tenants who have lost all or part of their income, after the 120-day moratorium on demanding rent payments expires. Mr. Mattice responded, “That’s a good question,” but added that it would apply to tenants in non-subsidized buildings more than those in Bliss, because the HHA can adjust rent for income

• Mr. Mattice described this year’s annual single audit report for HUD as “very good, as it usually is.” He said, “We had no problems with the things the auditor audits.”

“We have come a tremendously tremendously long way in changing the culture of the building.” Though he acknowledged,“We have challenges that will always be with us,” he called the HHA “really a great asset for the City of Hudson.”

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