Tag: Tiffany Robinson

How HUD’s Dismantling is Playing Out in Maywood

Saturday, August 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || OPINION || @maywoodnews

Feature photo: HUD Secretary Ben Carson | Wikipedia 

Earlier this month, Tiffany Robinson, the executive director of the Maywood Housing Authority, urged the Maywood Board of Trustees to draft a letter of support that would be sent to the head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Chicago regional office.

Continue reading “How HUD’s Dismantling is Playing Out in Maywood”

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Maywood Housing Authority in Financial Trouble, Says Director

Thursday, August 10, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

During her annual report presented at a Legal, License and Committee Meeting held on Aug. 9, Tiffany Robinson, the executive director of the Maywood Housing Authority, announced that the federally funded authority is in serious financial trouble related to incidents of theft and misconduct that happened over a decade ago.

Continue reading “Maywood Housing Authority in Financial Trouble, Says Director”

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: Maywood Housing Authority Seeking Part-Time, Temporary Office Assistant

 

Jobs, jobs, jobsSaturday, February 13, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR

The Maywood Housing Authority is seeking an office assistant. The position is temporary and part-time. The office assistant will report to the exective director. The duties include, but are not limited to: receiving and returning phone calls, filing, using office equipment, assisting with office meetings, interacting with the program participants, processing and receiving mail, and assisting the executive director with daily tasks. Housing Authority experience a plus.

Email trobinson@maywoodha.org to: Attention Tiffany Robinson in order to:

– Request a full description of the position
– Send your cover letter and resume to apply

Cover letters and resumes can also be received by mail at Maywood Housing Authority, 801 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153.

The position will remain open until filled and is subject to close without prior notice. The Maywood Housing Authority is an equal opportunity employer. VFP

Maywood Housing Authority Comes Out of Former Director’s Troubling Shadow

200_Maywood_Housing_Authority_BuildingMonday, June 22, 2015 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 6:55 PM

Less than four years ago, the Maywood Housing Authority (MHA), the federally funded agency that administers the village’s Section 8 housing subsidies, was beset by what the Better Government Association (BGA) described as “cronyism, conflicts of interest and poor management.”

In 2011, MHA’s former executive director, Gwendolyn Robinson — who was forced from her post in 2009 — was arrested for embezzling more than $400,000 in taxpayer funds from the agency. In her wake, Robinson left behind an entity that one Chicago region official of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called “the most seriously troubled housing authority in our portfolio.”

The year Gwendolyn Robinson was arrested, MHA hired Tiffany Robinson as its executive director. Since then, the latter Robinson has been working to clean up the mess her predecessor made.

It appears she’s making progress, albeit on a path that hasn’t been without its stumbling blocks. In September 2013, with the U.S. government shutdown looming, Robinson was forced to go to the Maywood Board of Trustees to ask for financial assistance.

At a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting that year, Robinson explained to the board that her agency didn’t have any money to sustain its day-to-day operations, such as paying salaries and utility bills. She said that the effects of the then-looming government shutdown would alter the agency’s federal funding. The MHA also flirted with selling its current office space and moving into village-owned property in order to continue its administrative functions.

At a June 16 board meeting, however, Robinson presented a 2014 annual report that was much more upbeat in its prognosis of the agency’s fiscal condition.

“We’re pleased with the performance of the staff and board of the MHA working together to ensure that this program survives and stays alive in the Village of Maywood,” she said at the June meeting, adding that MHA has been designated by HUD as a “High Performer” for the second consecutive year.

Each year, HUD requires public housing authorities (PHAs) to conduct self-scored reviews of their performance in several areas of the Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP), an evaluation tool designed to measure how effectively PHAs are administering fair housing assistance. To obtain its “High Performer” distinction, MHA had to score a 90 percent or higher. For more information on the SEMAP, acces HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook here.

During Gwendolyn Robinson’s tenure at MHA, the agency’s rating dipped below 60 percent, enough for HUD to rate it a “Troubled Performer.” That designation, according to the BGA, kept it from even applying for certain grants and required HUD “to sign off on any expenditures over $1,000.”

The agency’s troubled condition was enough to prompt HUD and MHA to conduct detailed audits. According to a BGA investigation based on those audits and on interviews with roughly 30 people, MHA “was overseeing vouchers for roughly 50 recipients living outside village limits, and therefore outside the ‘jurisdiction’ of the MHA,” despite more than 1,000 people being on the waiting list for legitimately obtained vouchers.

There was also apparently shady activity going on among some of MHA’s board members. Two of them left, the BGA notes, “after HUD discovered that their private companies — a construction firm and an insurance agency — had done business with MHA, according to interviews and a federal report.”

Since then, the MHA’s board of commissioners has gone from a seven-member board to a five-member board. Robinson said the board has had trouble sustaining a quorum.

“There are two members with current terms, two members that need to be reappointed, and one vacant position due to a recent resignation,” according to the 2014 annual report.

Robinson noted that she’s waiting for Mayor Perkins and the board to appoint a liaison between the MHA board and the village’s, a move designed to increase communication between the two entities.

Since Robinson’s tenure, the MHA’s audits are on the verge of being up-to-date, the executive director noted. When the former Texarkana Housing Authority deputy director took over at the MHA, “records were either incomplete or unavailable,” according to the agency’s 2014 annual report.

“MHA hired a new audit firm, Benton CPA, in December 2014 to compete the audits for 2011-2013,” the report notes, adding that the agency’s goal is “to become fully compliant as soon as possible but no later than the end of [the MHA’s fiscal year] 2015.”

Robinson reported that over the last year, MHA has absorbed 100 percent of port-ins, or families coming into Maywood’s jurisdiction from other housing authorities; and that MHA has experienced, on average, about 32 families who port-out to other communities.

MHA received roughly $3.7 million in 2014 from HUD, with all of those funds exhausted. The agency ended 2014 with a HUD Held-Reserve (funds that housing authorities “are no longer required to keep in their bank account[s]”) of $644,000 to use in the future.

“In 2014, MHA spent the majority of the year reassessing the Housing Authority and making strides to continue to work on outstanding items,” the report notes. “It was almost like starting from scratch since MHA faced closure at the end of 2013 due to inadequate funding from HUD. Some months HUD would not send any funds for administration and would send reduced funds for vouchers already utilized.”

At the end of Robinson’s presentation, many in attendance at the June 16 board meeting applauded the agency’s progress. Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, after noting the agency’s troubled past, praised its present condition.

“I would like to just commend the current board of the housing authority as well as the executive director, because a few years back, before Tiffany came, the housing authority was actually determined to be troubled and that’s very serious position to be in,” he said. “So I’m happy to hear that your report reflects just the opposite — good job.” VFP

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HUD Declares Maywood Housing Authority A “High Performer”

Friday, May 9, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

Maywood Housing Authority Declared High Performer By the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

CONTACT: Tiffany Robinson, Executive Director || (708) 345-7315 || tiffany.robinson@maywoodhousingauthority.org

Maywood Housing Authority

On May 6, 2014, the Maywood Housing Authority (MHA) received its annual SEMAP (Section Eight Management Assessment Program) letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declaring MHA a “High Performer’’ for CY 2013.

In 2010, MHA was declared “Troubled” by HUD. Since that time, the MHA Board of Commissioners was charged to find an Executive Director that could foster the change the agency so desperately needed to right the ship.

The board was successful in the hiring of Ms. Tiffany Robinson in October 2011. Ms. Robinson, with the assistance of HUD, a very supportive board (current and former) and equally capable staff, became the “Agent of Change” for MHA.

The Village of Maywood’s current and former administration also played a vital part in the continued success of MHA.

Under Ms. Robinson’s leadership, MHA was declared a “Standard Performer” for CY’s 2011 and 2012. The agency continued to strive for the highest rating possible (High Performer).

The Maywood Housing Authority’s future endeavor include continuing its efforts to maintain the High Performer rating, by operating the program according to HUD’s rules and regulations that govern the overall program. VFP

 

Quick News: Maywood Housing Authority Possibly Insolvent

By Michael Romain

At a September 25, Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Tiffany Robinson, the Executive Director of the Maywood Housing Authority (MHA), explained to the Village Board that her agency didn’t have any money to sustain it’s day-to-day operations, such as paying salaries and utility bills. Robinson said that the effects of the then-looming government shutdown, although not then known, would nonetheless alter the agency’s federal funding. Since then, the Federal government’s been shut down and reopened, but the exact status of the Housing Authority is still unknown. Ms. Robinson was unavailable for comment.

NOTIFICATION-IKE-290 EXPANSION:REDEVELOPMENT MEETING

During her presentation at the LLOC meeting, Robinson explained the ramifications of MHA’s closure. “There’s a domino effect that will occur,” she said. “You have to know that this is going to hurt the community […] it’s going to hurt us in the long-run […] it affects not only workers, but families and landlords.”

According to Ms. Robinson, MHA issues housing vouchers (essentially subsidies for reduced rent) to approximately 500 families in Maywood. Those vouchers, she said, “just about pay[s] the taxes” of landlords in Maywood. The vouchers, which can only be utilized within Maywood, act as an extra incentive for individuals who qualify for Section-8 vouchers to rent in Maywood, which is supposed to help landlords fill units that may otherwise sit vacant.

According to one landlord who wished to remain anonymous, those Section-8 rentals may be keeping some property owners from foreclosure, particularly when the real estate market is distressed. If the MHA is disbanded, according to the landlord, the residency requirement for individuals who hold MHA-issued vouchers would dissolve, allowing those individuals to move to other areas.

There’s much more to this story that has yet to be fleshed out. In the meantime, go to websites of the MHA or HUD for more information. More as this develops. VFP