LACONIA — Faced with new challenges due to changes in traditional funding sources, the Laconia Housing Authority recently adopted its first-ever strategic plan.
Richard Weaver, executive director of the authority, said the three-year plan has three major goals;
1. Achieving and sustaining financial stability in the face of a changing funding environment;
2. Raising the profile of the authority in the community and communicating more effectively with tenants, government officials and business leaders;
3. Facing and embracing change organizationally and technologically.
“It is essential that Laconia Housing Authority become more strategic about identifying and achieving goals that support its mission,” said Weaver.
He said the plan was created through a deliberative process over several months involving the Laconia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, staff, and stakeholders from around the region involved in both the public and private sectors.
The completed plan was adopted by the commissioners in October and calls for the agency to reduce its own operational expenses by 2 percent annually for the next three years as well as increasing program revenues by 10 percent by the end of 2018.
It also calls for assuming property management responsibilities at Normandin Square Apartments and Scott and Williams Condominium Association by July 1, 2016. There are 60 units in the building which is currently managed by Stewart Property Management .
Other properties managed by the Laconia Housing Authority include Sunrise Towers, 98 apartments; the Tavern Inn/Stafford House, 50 apartments; Northfield Village, 36 apartments; Perley Pond Townhouses, 35 apartments and Orchard Hill II in Belmont, 32 apartments.
The authority also manages other properties with a total 407 units, making it responsible for 718 apartment units.
“We’re the only public housing authority in the area, with Concord and Rochester the nearest to us,” said Weaver, explaining why projects in Northfield and Belmont are now managed by Laconia.
It is also looking at expanding property management services to projects not owned by the Laconia Housing Authority as well as determining the financial impact of loan refinancing on existing properties and the financial impact of disposing of properties it currently owns.
The plan also calls for exploring the feasibility of a staff or contract grant writer/public relations advisor to seek out and apply for grants and donations on a regular basis. Deadline for completion of this goal is Oct. 1, 2016. It is also looking at becoming a member of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s very important that we become recognized as a contributing member in the housing services and community development efforts in the region by civic and industry leaders and the general public,” said Weaver.
The Laconia Housing Authority is applying for $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for energy improvements to the Scott & Williams building at 22 Strafford St.
The money would be used to implement the recommendations of a energy audit which found that the four-story building uses more energy than any other building of its type and size in New Hampshire. Improvements are needed to the central heating system, fresh air ventilation and insulation in the basement crawl space. The largest item will be to install a combined heat and electric power system so that the building can generate its own electricity.
“Many of these retrofits were proposed when the building was originally remodeled about 10 years ago, but there wasn’t enough money to complete them. It’s a large building with high ceilings and many windows and can be much more energy efficient with this retrofit,” said Weaver.
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