HHA, seeing no sign of virus, calls for plan

HUDSON—An emergency grant to address costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, bug inspection and capital improvement financing received attention at the Hudson Housing Authority meeting May 13.

Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) runs the income-restricted, 135-unit Bliss complex, a high-rise and three low-rises in Hudson. This year the HHA converted from public housing to a status called RAD (rental assistance demonstration), which opens the way for private investment in the public housing. But as of now HHA retains full ownership of the property.

The emergency grant is for public housing authorities from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. The HHA received $39,231, HHA Executive Director Tim Mattice reported. The HHA Board of Commissioners then adopted a resolution to use $3,600 of the grant to pay special one-time bonuses to HHA staff for continuing to work despite the threat of exposure to the disease. The bonus, called “hazard pay,” will be $600 for each full-time employee and $300 for each part-time employee.

So far, “We got nobody living here that’s sick,” said Tenant Commissioner Robert Davis.

“Knock wood, nobody on my staff has it,” added Mr. Mattice.

The good news was attributed to the staff’s hard work. “This is a densely populated part of Hudson, but nobody has gotten sick. Great job,” said Vice-Chair Marie Balle.

“I’m blessed to be here,” said Mr. Mattice. “A lot of housing authority executive directors aren’t at their work. But I came in every day, and my staff came in every day. “

Another use of the grant could be to hire extra people to clean the common areas, hallways, elevators, and door knobs several times a day, Randall Martin, chair of the Board of Commissioners, said earlier.

Mr. Davis said, “It’s really quiet here.” A few people resist the new restrictions, but “overall, they’ve been good,” he said.

“We have a level of communication that never has existed in this housing authority before,” said Mr. Mattice. “I talk to Randall every day. I talk to Robert every day. We know what our needs are going to be for the day.”

‘We got nobody living here that’s sick.’

Commissioner Robert Davis

Hudson Housing Authority

However, the pandemic could have what scientists call a second wave this fall or winter. “One thing we should look for is fall resurgence. We should stock up,” said Mr. Martin.

“We should plan ahead,” agreed Ms. Balle.

On another matter, the Board agreed to resume pest inspections. The inspections used to take place every week, but none has taken place in over two months, because of the Covid-19 lockdown, Mr. Mattice said.

Plans call for inspection to resume, but now the inspectors will have to document a coronavirus safety plan.

“There has to be a system so that inspectors don’t spread germs from one apartment to another,” said Mr. Martin.

“Every inspector should have an action plan,” said Ms. Balle.

Inspectors and exterminators should “have to go in with masks and gloves and change them frequently,” Mr. Davis said.

He also said that no residents are reporting a pest problem right now, but there have been parts of the building that are “problematic. “

Commissioner Rebecca Wolff asked whether there could be a treatment without pesticides. Mr. Mattice answered that pesticides are used only when there is a “big infestation.” The first responses now are bait gel and roach traps.

In other business the housing board discussed whether to continue to pursue a $2-million loan the HHA could secure now that it has RAD status. Mr. Mattice said HHA has approached several banks and expects to have a lender “in a few weeks.”

But for certain capital projects, “I’m looking to find a creative way to finance them” rather than use the $2 million, Mr. Mattice said. One such project is elevator repair. One option, he said, would be to approach other lenders about a low interest loan, which “wouldn’t require collateral,” and would allow 18 months to elapse before payments start.

Also at the meeting, Commissioner Revonda Smith said, “Everyone I’ve spoken to has had nothing but praise” for Mr. Mattice.

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