CHAMPAIGN — The local public housing authority has scored a “high performer” 90 out of 100 on a federal inspection, and next year wants a perfect score, though one public housing building was given a lower mark.
The test, called the Public Housing Assessment System, is administered annually by inspections from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Housing Authority of Champaign County scored well in all but one subset, “physical,” with 22 points out of a possible 30.
In the other subsets, the housing authority scored a perfect 30 for management, 29 out of 30 for financial and 9 out of 10 for resident satisfaction.
Composite scores of 90 percent or higher are given the tag “high performer,” said Brian Sullivan of HUD, while composites of 60 or lower put a housing agency on a “troubled” list.
If an agency is listed as troubled for two or more years, it can face forced closure.
The scores are for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008.
Edward Bland Jr., the housing authority’s executive director, said his agency scored 89 last year and in a similar range for years before that.
Bland said the biggest change in scores this year had more to do with different inspectors than the quality of service.
On this year’s inspection, for instance, the physical component was the lowest, and among the physical ratings, Steer Place scored the worst.
The 103-occupancy senior center at 1202 E. Harding Drive, U, built in 1973, was given a score of 61 out of 100, with a “c” rating that notes one or more life-threatening deficiencies.
According to the report, the main Steer offense was “fire hoses missing, brackets remaining.”
But Patty Smith, the housing authority’s manager of maintenance and engineering, said a city fire inspector told Steer Place to take down its outdated hoses more than a decade ago and rely on the department’s high-tech equipment instead.
“The hooks were remaining; that told HUD that something was missing,” Smith said.
Bland said the brackets are down now, and he hopes for a more positive physical inspection in two years. (Because the overall score was high enough, Bland said, the physical inspection is now on a two-year cycle.)
“Inspectors look for different things every time,” Bland said, creating scores that are not always internally consistent.
Because the housing authority had a high overall score, Bland said, it is eligible for extra modernization or capital spending money; last time, that came to $28,500.