In my several years working in affordable housing, I visited maintenance teams all around the USA and Europe. Sometimes I met with monstrous teams of maintenance staff and other times a small group led by a manager. The one common theme is that morale and training make or break the ability of a maintenance team to deliver the performance and service levels needed to keep up with demands. The truth is that any maintenance manager at a public housing authority will be under-staffed and under-funded. Don’t like that? Probably not the job for you. It’s the organizations and managers that get that and still find a path forward that help find success in a challenging environment.
The Seattle Housing Authority has close to 10,000 units of hard housing in the portfolio. They are made up of a mish-mash of public housing, tax credit, private market, project-based voucher units and straight affordable housing units. This is the new face of a modern public housing authority. To strive and succeed, blended subsidies is where it is at. Regardless of the subsidy type, the housing authority’s maintenance staff still has the important job of keeping up on maintenance requests, unit turns, preventative maintenance and special projects.