Niles Housing Commission privatizes managementPublished 8:38am Friday, February 7, 2014
The Niles Housing Commission has contracted with Premier Housing Management to provide private property management, regulatory compliance, accounting and property maintenance services for its properties.
The housing commission was designated as a troubled housing agency in 2012 and has worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enter into a recovery agreement that stipulated they hire a private firm to handle all management responsibilities.
Marie Weimer, chairperson of the housing commission, said they received the troubled designation as a result of not having enough occupancy. She said they receive funding from HUD based upon the number of people living in housing commission properties.
“We have trouble getting people qualified to move into public housing,” Weimer said. “There are certain guidelines you have to meet to live here and we have trouble finding those people.”
Currently, 12 of 130 apartments and four of 50 houses under the housing commission’s umbrella remain vacant.
Stan Quy, business partner with Premier Housing Management, said the housing commission needs to be 97 percent full to lose its troubled housing designation.
He said improved marketing would allow this to happen.
“These are quality units and a great resource for people to take advantage of,” he said. “It comes back to marketing and doing an exceptional job of managing and maintaining what you have. When you’ve got a great product, the message gets out into the community that this is a great place to live.”
Quy said Premier Housing Management hasn’t been given a set timeline to clean things up. However, Quy said if things don’t improve, HUD could take over management of the housing commission.
“That’s a last resort,” he said.
Residents will see no change in their rent structure or lease provisions, according to Richard Hutsell, president of Premier Housing Management.
Management was done previously by Niles Housing Commission staff, according to Quy. He said Premier Housing is currently evaluating the six staff members working there now.
While the City of Niles and the Niles Housing Commission remain separate entities, the city does appoint board members to the housing commission.
Quy said the housing commission receives 100 percent of its funding directly from HUD.
Premier Housing Management is based in St. Paul, Minn. It provides management services to 20 affordable housing developments in the Midwest.