US Department of Housing and Urban Development raised BMHA’s updated score to 62, increase of 14.8%
The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) announced it is no longer designated as a “troubled” public housing authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
HUD’s updated Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) score, which is based on physical inspections and analysis of the BMHA’s finances, management and administrative operations, is the highest score BMHA has received since 2015. This is also the first score it has received under the leadership of BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown.
“When Mayor Brown and this board put its faith in me in October, 2018, I promised that my first priority would be to increase our PHAS scores,” she said. “We completed every element of a troubled agency recovery agreement with HUD, and we have increased our score from 54 to 62. This represents a testament to all of the hard work each and every member of the team here at BMHA has done over the last five years. There are, of course, numerous challenges ahead, but I am confident that we will be able to address them and continue to increase our scores.”
“Congratulations to you and your team for getting over the finish line and out of PHAS troubled status,” wrote Jacqueline Molinaro-Thompson, director of HUD’s Pittsburgh-Buffalo office in an email notifying Brown of the improved score. “Our office will continue working closely with you to further improve and sustain BMHA’s performance and compliance, and to support your successful redevelopment of public housing and re-imagining of your PHA operations and organizational culture.”
HUD’s scoring system, now known as “PHAS,” is changing to a new system, called “NSPIRE.” This new system will make significant changes to the inspections of each housing authority’s properties.
“It is my intention to make sure that our staff are well-trained on NSPIRE inspections, so that we can maintain the upward trend of our scores,” Brown said.
The planned demolition of nearly 300 units of vacant housing at the Commodore Perry development will also have a positive effect on the Authority’s scores, as HUD still includes them in the BMHA’s occupancy count.
The BMHA has several other ongoing and new development and capital improvement projects taking place, which will aid its physical scoring.
HUD put on-site inspections and reviews on hold for fiscal years ending in 2019 through 2021 due to the pandemic. It recently completed nationwide scoring of housing authorities whose fiscal years ended in 2022. The BMHA’s score is for the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2022.