This past year moved with a swiftness that surprised me. Just as I was ready to assess how we would move to another quarter I was suddenly facing the reality of how we would end the year. I am somewhat constrained as I report that this past year was successful. Success in the goals we established and achieved. We have come to expect greater degrees of success in all of our endeavors. This is not by happenstance. We continue to enjoy growing favor and support for the vision we have for HRHA and our role in the city.
So, what matters to us?
HRHA – where people matter every day. We stay focused on why we do the work that we do. We manage housing opportunities in the forms of public housing, housing choice vouchers and more recently by facilitating the creation of modern, efficient affordable housing. We take the jobs or series of jobs seriously. In quiet often invisible ways we act to give low income residents a place to call home. A place of simple, basic accommodation and a retreat from unaffordable options and in some cases homelessness. And even when the notorious and negative influences rear their heads and cause unwanted attention, we remain buttressed by a strong conviction that most of our residents appreciate our efforts and live that way.
Celebrating 75 years of service. Last year marked 75 years of service to Hopewell. First, as a housing authority and later as a redevelopment and housing authority. The agency and the housing communities and programs that exist today are the result of the actions of thoughtful men and women over many years. I applaud their vision and perseverance. Viability in any organization is due to its ability to plan for a future beyond its current stewards. This is the living legacy of HRHA.
Resident Services Non-profit. Efforts were made to create a vehicle for obtaining additional grant funding to support our resident services goals. As reflected in our mission statement, economic self-sufficiency for our residents is essential because it impacts the social fabric of our city. Current HUD funding does not support a robust resident services focus. However, agencies are encouraged to find alternative funding sources in order to provide more opportunity for our population. As a result we created a non-profit organization named “STORY”. Creating opportunity matters.
Customer Service. What does customer service mean? The answer to this question is as varied as the people answering the question. Therefore, it is a question whose answer never seems to fully satisfy. As we closed last year and enter this year we are focusing on this area in a deliberate and hopefully radical way. My experience has been that even when organizations teach, write about, profess, evaluate, blame, praise in the area of customer service, it remains elusive and often gets lost when the pressures of work place compliance competes with it. For me customer service (whether good or bad) is a one-on-one encounter. Every one of these encounters must be addressed with active listening, a freshness that comes with hearing this concern for the first time, and a resolve to partner with our customer in addressing their concern. We have to see customer service as critically as we see any other performance indicator that we measure. A consistent customer service focus is a legacy worth creating to serve our stakeholders for our next 75 years.
Thank you to all the partners who believe like we do that there is promise in our communities. Everyone deserves a chance to succeed or fail based on merit. It matters!