Chester Housing Authority today announced it has earned Affordable Housing Accreditation by the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board ™. The designation of "Accredited Affordable Housing Organization" reflects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards established by the affordable housing industry and to providing quality, well-managed housing.
Chester Housing Authority underwent a rigorous review of documentation that culminated in a three-day site visit in October 2018. During the review and visit, Affordable Housing Accreditation Board reviewers evaluated conformance with eight standards and 47 guidelines related to how effectively the executive leadership, board and staff work to meet their mission to enhance the Chester community by providing decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes.
Among key findings in the report:
• The CHA received statewide recognition for its efforts around ensuring resident information is used for only the purposes it is intended. CHA demonstrated its commitment to upholding that policy, even though it meant going to court and incurring legal expenses to battle a case in which officials from another municipality demanded the identities of Housing Choice Voucher properties in Chester Township.
• CHA has taken the community garden idea and expanded it to include economic development. Fair Square Bennt19
• CHA has created a café from a former community center building.
• A local gallery owner has partnered with the local Chester Charter School for the Arts to acquire student made art to provide to new residents upon move into a unit under the management of CHA.
• CHA encourages dignity and respect among residents and staff by promoting changes in behavior – from the Resident Training Academy, and community policing and moving people from hanging around in groups, to reminding people of rules and policies and following up with the appropriate staff.
"The development of this credential for the affordable housing industry should generate confidence that housing authorities are business enterprises of high caliber," said CHA Executive Director Steven A. Fischer. "We are proud to be among the first in the nation to earn the distinction. It is a testament to our staff, their service delivery and relationships with residents and stakeholders, and a committed governing board. Added CHA Board Chair Sheila Church, "We are gratified that we could bring attention to our city on a national scale.
We will continue to work hard to live up to this standard." "On behalf of Chester City Councilmembers, I offer congratulations to the Chester Housing Authority for being awarded this accreditation," said Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland. "This level of recognition confirms that CHA is committed to serving this community efficiently, consistently and with integrity. City Council will continue to support and recognize all organizations that offer our residents quality service.
"Established in 2013, the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board began piloting accreditation in early 2018. Accreditation is awarded for a five-year period, encouraging accredited organizations to continuously improve and excel in providing safe, well managed, high quality affordable housing in their communities. Accreditation can potentially result in improved management of housing, shared best practices around the country, and higher quality of life for residents. The Chester Housing Authority, along with Seattle Housing Authority and Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority in Ohio are the first three organizations to become accredited.
"Organizations that pursue accreditation from the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board™ are demonstrating the highest commitment to their communities by delivering quality affordable housing" said Diana McWilliams, President and CEO of the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board. "I commend Chester Housing Authority for successfully achieving this milestone and for its dedication to provide quality affordable housing for the Chester community."