Duluth HRA’s COVID-19 response plan

Originally posted 3/23/2020, updates marked below

In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth, Minnesota (HRA) is adjusting its services and operations to protect staff and the individuals and families it serves from further spread of COVID-19.  The HRA will continue to update its action plan.  

 
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, effective immediately all HRA offices are temporarily closed to all residents and visitors.  This closure includes the Central Administrative Office and all property management offices at HRA owned housing sites.  The HRA will be suspending all internal and external meetings with very few exceptions.  As much business as possible will be conducted by telephone and other electronic means.  The HRA will continue to respond as needed to emergency situations.

Closing our offices does not mean the HRA is closed.  We remain committed to our mission and the individuals and families we serve.  Property offices will have signs posted with contact information so residents can easily reach staff by telephone in lieu of a walk-in meeting.  Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher staff will conduct as much business as possible via U.S. Mail and electronic means.  HRA staff are still available to provide the emergency services and essential duties that arise in managing HRA owned properties. 

Please also check our Documents Library (listed under Links -> HRA Documents Library) for forms that you can either print and mail in or fill in electronically. Fill out, sign, and submit forms electronically in Adobe Reader: https://get.adobe.com/reader/ (also available in the Play and iTunes store).

Public Housing – Resident Services

Applicant Interviews:

  • All in-person intake appointments are cancelled and all applicants with interviews already scheduled will be mailed an intake packet and be given a phone interview.

Resident Hearings:

  • All in-person denial hearings are cancelled.
  • Applicants may appeal their denial by submitting via fax, email, drop box, or U.S. Mail, a written explanation of why their denial should be overturned along with supporting documentation. 

Lease Signings for New Tenants:

  • Lease signings and initial unit assignments will continue as usual.

Inspections and Accessing of Units:

  • All routine, annual inspections will be postponed until further notice.
  • Life and Safety inspections will be conducted by staff as needed.
  • Public Housing staff will have personal protective equipment (PPE) available.

Transfers:

  • Reasonable Accommodations/Emergency Transfers will continue as usual.

Rent Calculations/Certifications/Evictions:

  • Income changes reported by the resident must now be done via U.S. Mail, email, drop box, fax, or phone.
  • Updated 3/30/2020: Lease violation notices will continue to be sent, and we will follow any applicable executive orders.
  • Eviction notices will continue to be sent for lease violations.

Resident Club Meetings

  • All meetings will be cancelled or postponed.

Public Housing – Maintenance

Work Orders:

  • All non-emergency work orders are suspended until further notice.
  • All community rooms and community centers are closed in order to support social distancing as recommended by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Maintenance Staff will focus on cleaning and sanitizing shared surfaces.
  • Office staff will contribute to the effort by monitoring their own office environments. 
  • All Preventative Maintenance inspections are postponed until further notice.

Construction:

  • Updated 3/25/2020: From March 27 at 11:59 pm through April 10 at 11:59 pm, construction work will be placed on hold due to the State of Minnesota Shelter in Place Order. Updated 3/26/2020: Exceptions include work at vacant scattered site public housing units, emergency repairs requiring outside contractors, bed bug treatments in individual units, other pest treatment in non-populated areas, and telecommunications work on the towers leasing space on our high rises.  Any other requests for exceptions will be evaluated by the Executive Director and considered on a case by case basis.
  • Construction work may continue based upon the scope of the work.

Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program

Actions affecting people new to the Housing Choice Voucher program:

  • Intake appointments will now be conducted via U.S. Mail and phone.
  • Briefings will now be held via phone or electronic means.

Actions affecting on going file processing for current participants:

  • All in-person appointments are suspended until further notice.
  • Mailings will include a return checklist as a reminder of all the documents needed and will also encourage participants to return via email, mail, drop box, or fax to limit contact.
  • Staff will contact existing appointments to cancel in-person appointments and to request return of documents by mail, fax, drop box, or email. 

Inspections of assisted units:

  • Inspections for participants moving to a new unit and/or entering our program for the first time will continue.  These are needed in order to begin housing assistance. Updated 3/25/2020: Virtual inspections are allowed if available.
  • Inspectors will have PPE available for each inspection.
  • The HRA will temporarily move to bi-annual inspections for landlords.
  • Participants can request an inspection if they have a complaint that would warrant an inspection.
  • All re-inspections will be completed via self-certifications with pictures, and can be submitted by mail, fax, drop box, or email.

Rehab and Real Estate Program

Rehab and Real Estate Department staff will follow Public Housing and Section 8 activities/actions as applicable.

Informational Links and Community Resources:
 
MN Governor’s Office:  https://mn.gov/governor/
HUD Page on COVID-19:  https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus
Center for Disease Control:  https://www.cdc.gov/ MN Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Originally posted 3/16/2020

The HRA’s central office in King Manor will be closed to the public beginning Wednesday, March 18.

We will continue to take applications.  Applications for public housing and Section 8 are available online, and will be available by mail or can be picked up outside the Central Office (use the 2nd Street entrance and follow the directions on signage).  Completed applications can be either mailed in or dropped off in the secure mail slot on the first floor of King Manor.

Staff will continue to process applications and staff will be working with residents to ensure continued leasing, maintenance, and appeals. 

Maintenance and Inspection staff will be asking if anyone in the household is sick before entering a unit.  Any inspections and non-emergency repairs will be rescheduled if there is an ill person in the unit.

We will be utilizing technology including conference calling, video conferencing, email, and phone interviews to continue serving our residents and move applicants into housing from our waiting lists. 

Please also check our Documents Library (listed under Links -> HRA Documents Library) for forms that you can either print and mail in or fill in electronically. Fill out, sign, and submit forms electronically in Adobe Reader: https://get.adobe.com/reader/ (also available in the Play and iTunes store).

Future updates will continue to be posted to Duluth HRA’s website www.duluthhousing.com. Any questions can be addressed by calling our main office, 218-529-6300.

  • 222 E. Second Street
    P.O. Box 16900
    Duluth, MN 55816
    Phone #: 218-529-6300

    To place a call to a Minnesota Relay User, dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-627-3529.