Fellowship Openings

Transforming Public Housing to Provide Better Services for Residents

Project: Transforming Public Housing to Provide Better Services for Residents

Agency: Pittsburgh Office of the Mayor

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PROJECT CONTEXT 

The City of Pittsburgh has historically been considered an affordable city, where low- and moderate-income families can find housing that fits their budget with relative ease. However, over the last decade the housing market has shifted dramatically, with rents and home prices rising significantly throughout the city. The percentage of rental units costing less than $500 a month has gone from 50% of available units in 2000 to 19% in 2014. Rentals costing more than $1,000 grew almost six-fold. The increasingly acute need for affordable housing requires that the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) adapt its role and function to improve services for residents and better leverage the limited resources that are available to the city.

HACP has already begun adapting its policies and procedures to adapt to the changing housing landscape. Historically, like many other public housing authorities, HACP built large-scale public housing complexes that were often isolated and disconnected from their adjacent communities. More recently, it has moved towards redeveloping properties as less dense, mixed-income communities that are better integrated into city neighborhoods. HACP is also working to expand the services provided to residents, such as workforce support services, case management, youth programs, and health and wellness services, as evidenced through their work under a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant in the Larimer and East Liberty neighborhoods. These changes have successfully begun reorienting HACP for current housing realities, but more needs to be done to address the decreasing number of affordable units available and to promote the uptake of services among residents in need.

The Office of the Mayor will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level Fellow for one year to help develop and implement a plan to continue adapting HACP to serve the growing number of Pittsburghers in need of housing and other key support services. The plan will focus on identifying ways for HACP to improve outcomes for residents by providing more comprehensive wrap-around services and clearing a pathway toward stability, security and upward mobility. Additionally, the fellow will support the city in finding creative ways to increase the number of affordable and available units, including incentives for developers to invest in affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods and leveraging the Housing Authority’s Moving to Work designation to exercise more flexibility in financing affordable housing projects.

PROJECT SUMMARY 

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the Fellow, and FUSE staff during the first month of the project, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in October 2017, it is proposed that the FUSE Fellow will begin by reviewing the current efforts by the city and its partners to provide affordable housing and social services to underserved communities. The fellow will identify and engage with various stakeholders, including staff members from the Office of the Mayor, the Department of City Planning, the Housing Authority, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), as well as providers of support services, including Allegheny County, Urban Strategies, Partner4Work and others.

Working with stakeholders, the fellow will help develop a plan that focuses on two primary functions of HACP: (1) improvement of the delivery of social services, and (2) the creative local financing of affordable housing units. The fellow will lead efforts within the agency to increase and improve the way the Housing Authority delivers or makes available services to residents that directly meet their needs and position each household to achieve their desired, improved outcomes. The fellow will outline how HACP can shift from being primarily a development agency to serving more as a financer, which will allow for better use of limited resources and staff time to focus on providing and facilitating high-quality, wrap-around services for all Housing Authority residents.

The majority of the fellowship year will be spent developing an action plan for this work. The fellow may look at existing HACP programs such as Choice Neighborhoods and Family Self Sufficiency which provide excellent wrap-around services to residents, but serve relatively few families when compared to the total number of HACP residents. The fellow will create an action plan to take these programs to scale and increase the delivery of services to more families and individuals. Where appropriate, the fellow will establish a one-stop shop wherein families can access a variety of services in one place, including employment, health, education and youth services. The fellow will also work to publicize the availability of these services to encourage their uptake among the residents that need them most.

During the last few months, the fellow will begin the implementation process, focusing on a few key projects in select target communities within the Housing Authority portfolio. The successful fellow will help the City of Pittsburgh make significant progress toward its goal of transforming the Housing Authority so that it better meets the needs of residents. Not only will there be more affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families, there will also be increased access to more robust supportive services designed to empower residents and position them to become upwardly mobile.

POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

  • Review current affordable housing efforts and engage with stakeholders – Survey the current efforts by the city and its partners to provide affordable housing, supportive housing, and social services to low- and moderate-income residents. Review the various reports that have been issued about affordable housing, including the recommendations made by the Affordable Housing Task Force. Identify and engage with all stakeholders, including government officials and agencies, social service providers, and private developers.
  • Evaluate the supportive services system within HACP to better meet the needs of residents — Establish a working group within HACP to outline where residents interact with HACP personnel. Evaluate those interactions to determine if improvements or efficiencies are needed within HACP’s processes and policies.
  • Develop an action plan to transform the Housing Authority – Work with stakeholders to develop an action plan to transform HACP in order to better deal with the new challenges facing the affordable housing initiative in Pittsburgh. Focus the plan on providing more comprehensive and improved services to residents. Identify what services are needed most and where and then develop programs or better leverage existing programs to meet those needs. Meet with all stakeholders, in particular service providers and community organizations and residents, in order to get their feedback, buy-in and cooperation on the new plan as well as their assistance in building broad awareness about the available resources.
  • Implement several pilot projects – Identify several projects from the plan and begin their implementation. Help the Housing Authority identify one or two pilot communities within the public housing portfolio to scale existing wrap-around service models. Work with relevant stakeholders to create a timeline for implementation, and outline of the roles and responsibilities of all parties, strategies and goals, and a means to measure success.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor
  • Kyle Chintalapalli, Deputy Chief Development Officer, Office of the Mayor

QUALIFICATIONS 

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in organizational change management, management consulting, program design and implementation. Professional or personal experience with public or supportive housing preferred but not required.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills. Ability to get up to speed quickly about the integration and application of multiple technologies to improve the lives of citizens across diverse populations.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise summaries and recommendations.
  • Ability to identify best practices, understand data and evidence and use it to support a business case, and make a persuasive argument to support recommendations.
  • Strong record of success engaging a variety of cross-sector stakeholders and managing cross- functional teams. Ability to relate to a variety of diverse audiences and varying interests with strong emotional intelligence and empathy. Able to connect and collaborate across a variety of disciplines.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with ease in public presentations.
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who is an independent worker, resourceful in creating novel solutions to complex problems, persistent in obtaining information, and able to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous environments.
  • Flexibility, adaptability, persistence, humility, inclusivity, and sensitivity to cultural differences.
  • Support and understanding the strength of diversity, and the need for solutions to support all regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.
  • TO APPLY 

Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.

This role offers the opportunity to work full time for 12 months as an independent contractor of FUSE Corps with an annual stipend of $90,000 paid through monthly installments.

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

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