As a small business actively involved in providing services to public and subsidized housing providers throughout the country, TAG Associates has had success in performing many functions, including the following: HOPE VI, overall housing authority and individual departmental assessments and evaluations, management and operational technical assistance, evaluation and assessment of distressed housing, financial management, budgeting and fiscal controls, strategic planning, data collection using both qualitative and quantitative methods, resident initiatives, and training and expert assistance to public interest organizations.
Through its founder, TAG Associates, Inc., possesses over twenty-five years of practical operational experience in the successful provision of services to low-income, Section 8, and Public Housing providers. Through HOPE VI, and other programs, TAG is responsible for the creation of approximately 1,400 new affordable dwelling units. The staff members of TAG Associates, Inc., have over fifty years of combined professional experience in public and private housing and facilities management.
TAG Associates has been extremely successful in the implementation of HOPE VI programs. Since its participation in the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing (NCSDPH), whose work formed the basis for the HOPE VI program, TAG Associates has participated in numerous HOPE VI revitalization projects. TAG is presently providing program management services on several HOPE VI grants:
In addition, TAG Associates has participated in the development of HOPE VI applications and/or revitalization plans for Philadelphia, Detroit (2), New York City, New Haven, Seattle, Indianapolis (2), Houston, Tucson, Pittsburgh and Chester, PA.
TAG Associates, Inc. has conducted and directed comprehensive management reviews of all operational areas of public housing agencies (PHAs), both through PHA solicitations and for verification of compliance with state and federal housing regulations. As follow-up to many reviews, TAG Associates staff have developed long-range improvement plans and provided extensive technical assistance in management strategies. TAG has performed such services for PHAs ranging in size from fewer than fifty units to more than forty thousand units. In many cases, PHAs have extended contracts for services with TAG to include assistance in implementing recommendations made in review reports. TAG was a key member of the team that developed for HUD the tools that all PHAs use to implement Section 202 of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions Act of 1996, which requires assessing the viability of all PHA developments that meet certain HUD "distressed" criteria.
TAG was a key member of a team that developed for HUD the tools that all PHAs use to implement Section 202 of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions Act of 1996, which required assessing the viability of all PHA developments that meet certain HUD "distressed" criteria. In addition, TAG conducted 202 assessments and strategic planning for the Chicago Housing Authority. This work included the 202 assessment, a 20-year physical needs assessment and plan, and the development of an innovative categorization scheme that measures all developments by neighborhood, physical condition, and ease of management. TAG has performed similar capital needs assessments in Philadelphia and Rockford (IL) to assist the PHAs in deciding where to invest increasingly scarce resources based upon the future viability of the properties.
Several of TAG Associates, Inc.'s projects are quite specific, focusing on a particular aspect of a housing agency's operations. TAG Associates has worked on projects in numerous functional areas, including the following:
TAG's experience with Occupancy Programs has included
developing marketing plans and programs, new admissions policies and vacancy
reduction programs (including strategies at many PHAs under the specially-funded
Vacancy Reduction Program). New lease and grievance procedures and tenant
screening procedures have been a part of the strategies and programs initiated
by the TAG group.
TAG Associates has reviewed many housing authorities in the areas of processing applications, screening for eligibility, record keeping, initial and annual verification of income and rent, rent collection, lease enforcement, and eviction. These reviews have included checking for compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements, conformity to federal and state regulatory agency policies, documenting the "flows" of applications and paper and overall efficiency in administration. These reviews have identified possible efficiency and processing improvements. Assessments have occurred for both low-income housing and Section 8 programs. Recommendations for improvements are always included in such reports. TAG also provides many of these housing authorities with assistance implementing these recommendations.
TAG is presently working on innovative approaches to develop mixed-income waiting lists and preference systems for a number of PHAs.
TAG performed a wide range of admissions and occupancy services for the Boston Housing Authority, including an assessment of workflow and efficiency in the BHA's Occupancy Department, a revision of the Authority's ACOP to comply with the Public Housing Reform Act of 1998, and the implementation of a pilot program that moves admissions functions to BHA sites.
TAG was actively involved in restructuring the Admissions Department, streamlining processes, amending policies and procedures and creating a more flexible unit offer approach on behalf of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
TAG has been directly involved in the reorganization
of departments and the overall organizational structure for the following
clients: the District of Columbia Housing Authority, the Housing Authority
of Kansas City, the Quincy Housing Authority, and the Detroit Housing Commission.
These successes include developing comprehensive management policies and procedures,
recruitment and hiring of new staff, creation of personnel management procedures
and programs and the establishment of communications and operational planning
systems (including the selection and the installation of automated management
information systems and implementing training programs).
TAG Associates staff has provided extensive assistance in the area of financial
management, internal audit systems, and public/subsidized housing finance.
TAG Associates also has direct successes in developing complete financial
management systems for the oversight of financial operations, including accounting
and budgeting. Associates of TAG have also been retained by HUD to provide
financial management training to resident management corporations. TAG has
performed the following activities for housing authorities:
Housing Authority of Kansas City (MO)- daily oversight of the financial and budgetary operations, management of capital funds, development of policies, procedures and management systems, capacity building of staff
District of Columbia Housing Authority- agency-wide financial plan, daily financial operations oversight, monitoring of program budgets, development of complete financial management systems, job descriptions, written procedures and automated system enhancements, project based accounting, internal audit systems development and technical assistance in project-based accounting, cash management
Detroit Housing Commission - technical assistance in accounting and budgetary procedures development, budget monitoring, internal controls and the performance of agency audits
Indianapolis Housing Authority - development of agency financial management improvement plan, assistance in developing agency wide budget and financial plan
Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh - technical assistance in the areas of financial management, mixed finance transactions and MIS
TAG Assocaites has developed several authority-wide Financial and Business Plans for PHA clients, including Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, Washington DC, New Haven, Houston and Pittsburgh. These plans forecast revenues and expenditures over several years and identify and propose strategies to enable the client PHA to accomplish their stated programmatic goals and objectives. The core of these plans is the development of long-range funding and expenditure projections which are based on forecasts of the PHA's portfolio, along with management assumptions about key operational components. They further include the impact these assumptions will have on funding, operations, staffing and the delivery of key housing services. The plans present the goals and objectives of the subject PHA and finish with strategies designed to best enable the agency to meet those critical objectives. These financial plans have also included components dealing with subsidiary entities, such as non-profits and/or housing development sub-entities. These plans have been instrumental in assisting clients to successfully establish and implement complex organizational restructuring efforts and successfully manage change through dramatically declining funding cycles.
TAG Associates has developed internal audit and quality control programs for public housing, including the creation of offices of internal audit for public housing authorities. Systems for internal audit and quality control are essential to ensuring that the risks inherent in any organization are adequately assessed and treated within the context of normal PHA operations. No organization, including public housing authorities, should ignore the need to adequately ensure that internal control systems and procedures are in place and operational at the agency. TAG Associates has reviewed Inspector General reports at multiple PHAs and developed reports to address the findings. We have established audit programs at housing authorities in Dade County, Kansas City and Detroit. TAG Associates also developed, under contract with the OIG, a guidebook for implementing and monitoring public housing Cooperation Agreements in use by HUD and PHA staff.
TAG Associates has been actively involved in developing procurement and contracting systems and procedures manuals for multiple PHA clients. TAG Associates has developed and implemented a comprehensive procurement manual, desk reference and policies for the Housing Authority of Kansas City. TAG Associates has successfully implemented Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) programs at PHAs that offer the best features of private sector procurement and inventory planning for public housing. TAG Associates and its team members are also actively involved in the successful implementation of decentralized procurement systems and Section 3 requirements. TAG Associates has extensive experience in all areas of procurement, from the purchasing and handling of maintenance-related materials and supplies to soliciting bids from and contracting with professional service providers, including construction contractors, private property managers, developers and architectural/engineering (A/E) firms. TAG Associates has conducted procurement reviews, provided recommendations and developed comprehensive procurement policy and procedure manuals for several housing authorities, including the District of Columbia, Dade County, Detroit, Rochester and Indianapolis. In addition, TAG Associates has performed an analysis of the procurement policies and procedures of the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven (HANH), provided suggestions for improvements and developed and conducted procurement training for the entire HANH staff.
TAG is well-versed in the public procurement requirements as contained in
Chapter 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations and HUD's Procurement Handbook.
We also have experience in the review of multiple state procurement regulations
in terms of PHA compliance, both in terms of their policies and procedures
not violating any state statutes or regulations and the compliance of purchasing
activities with state requirements.
TAG Associates, working together with key sub-consultants, has developed and implemented numerous resident services and economic development programs. These programs include program design and implementation of HOPE VI resident services components in Indianapolis, Detroit, District of Columbia, and Kansas City, MO, as well as the design of HOPE VI resident services plans for projects located in New York City and Chester, PA.
Additionally, TAG has developed and implemented the Housing Authority of Kansas City's (HAKC's) One-Stop-Shop, as defined by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS). TAG also assisted in securing a joint HHS/HUD funded grant for Resident Uplift and Economic Development for HAKC-one of only six awarded nationally in 1997. TAG also facilitated the reorganization of the HAKC Resident Services Department, the movement of On-Site Service Coordinators to HAKC developments, and the creation of an affiliated 501 (c) (3) non-profit entity. TAG is also involved in the creation of an Endowment Fund which will be utilized to finance future resident service activities and programs.
TAG Associates has been in the forefront of developing successful asset and site-based management structures at large public housing authorities (PHAs). TAG's principal helped focus contemporary thinking in the field of asset management during the late 1980s by writing a definitive report recognized by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing (NCSDPH). TAG's approach to asset and site-based management has helped define the components of asset management for large public and subsidized housing portfolios.
A significant part of the asset management protocol is the use of a formal site visit procedure that supplies a framework for the asset manager to review activities at the site during a monthly formal meeting. A greatly expanded version provides for an annual management audit. The annual audit is anticipated to take a day or longer and contains a series of action steps, file reviews, and data analysis. The intent is that the audit be performed prior to any annual contract negotiations for privately managed sites. In addition, there are supporting protocols describing what asset managers should be evaluating, as well as revised job descriptions for asset managers which relate directly to performance measures established at the beginning of the year. These asset management protocols have been implemented in Kansas City, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Haven, Springfield and the District of Columbia.
In the development of its recommended performance measures, TAG has reviewed and assessed a variety of public housing and private housing management indicators and performance measures, and has incorporated both into its asset management plans.
Implementation of asset management invariably involves training authority staff. The TAG Associates team can demonstrate extensive expertise in training, particularly training that illuminates asset management to housing authority staff. For example, the principal of TAG developed and implemented a highly successful activity-based training for financial management of Resident Management Corporations. TAG's training successes also includes work at the Housing Authority of Kansas City and Indianapolis Housing Authority. At these authorities TAG has performed training in PHAS, management operations and project based budgeting. TAG has also performed training in some of these areas at San Francisco and Dade County (FL), as well as PHAS training at numerous authorities, including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and Detroit. TAG Associates has also provided assistance to the San Francisco Housing Authority in a variety of key management areas, including an extensive training program for middle- and upper-level management.
Administering Asset Management
TAG has been highly successful in administering asset management programs throughout the country. By applying our expertise in site based and asset management, we have developed a 100 percent success rate of assisting PHAs in their removal from the HUD Troubled List. The PHAs that TAG assisted in this manner include Kansas City, Philadelphia, Detroit, District of Columbia, Indianapolis, Chicago and San Francisco. TAG continues to provide on-going asset management oversight in Kansas City, Philadelphia, and the District of Columbia, and is involved in implementing and refining the asset management capacity of these large PHAs. TAG has developed and implemented RFPs for alternative management entities and developed formal procedures for overseeing private management of PHA developments.
In addition to the preceding PHAs, TAG has investigated issues related to the privatization of housing at many PHAs. As mentioned above, we have worked in this area in Dade County, the State of New York and for the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing. Some of our other privatization evaluations were performed for HOPE VI and other mixed-income projects. TAG also has developed an asset management methodology for capital improvements. These assignments include asset management as a means of overseeing the management and physical condition of a specific development, as well as for reviewing the entire PHA housing stock.
TAG Associates is a leader in the development of plans and strategies for initiating site based management and PHA asset management strategies. TAG has completed or is completing work on these projects in Detroit, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Kansas City, MO. TAG also assists PHAs in implementing the private management of and alternative ownership of public housing developments.
Physical Facilities Planning and Management
TAG Associates has provided a variety of services related to the maintenance, management, and modernization of physical facilities. Large scale assessments have been performed for the Capital Fund Program for large PHAs. Other services have included inspections of housing units and developments, evaluation of maintenance work order systems and maintenance operations, development of cost estimates for modernization of developments, and design of preventive maintenance programs. Housing viability studies and distressed housing rehabilitation planning are other examples of TAG's work on capital improvement plans. Through TAG, capital assessments have been performed in recent years for Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Rockford (IL).
TAG Associates has provided reviews of and technical assistance in the area of Section 8 operations. As Court-Appointed Receiver of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, TAG conducted an initial management audit and operational review of the Authority's Section 8 Program and worked with the staff to successfully implement the recommendations. TAG was involved in revising the Administrative Plan, in developing new forms, in updating the rent reasonableness database and in ensuring compliance with all HUD regulations. Since the start of Receivership, the Authority has substantially increased its voucher utilization, has absorbed hundreds of additional units previously administered by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) and has worked closely with its landlords to improve program delivery, including the establishment of a Landlord Advisory Board and an Evaluation and Monitoring Committee. The Authority has consistently earned Standard Performer status under SEMAP and is approaching High Performer status as it continues to demonstrate improved service delivery.
As part of providing ongoing technical assistance to the District of Columbia Housing Authority, TAG has worked significantly on their Housing Choice Voucher Program. This work has included the development and revision of policies and procedures, including the Administrative Plan, the review and revision of the Authority's quality control procedures, the conducting of independent SEMAP audits and the preparation of the annual SEMAP self-certification, the conducting of quality control reviews focusing upon rental integrity and compliance with existing policies/procedures, tracking patterns of error and making skills retraining recommendations and the review of payment records and landlord accounts as a means to improve the administration of the Moderate Rehabilitation program.
Additionally, TAG has worked or is currently working with PHAs in Baltimore, the District of Columbia and Philadelphia on the redesign of their Housing Choice Voucher Programs under the authority of Moving to Work (MTW). TAG has conducted operational reviews of Section 8 Departments as a part of a broader organizational assessment for PHAs in Detroit, New Haven, San Francisco, Houston, Quincy (MA) and Philadelphia. Finally, the President of TAG has been retained as an expert witness by PHAs regarding Section 8 litigation that has involved the lawful termination of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract by the Authority in its Moderate Rehabilitation program and the denial of payment of a performance bonus by a PHA to its private contractor charged with Section 8 program operations, shaped in part by the failure of the contractor to meet agreed upon SEMAP indicator performance. Finally, TAG has worked for PHA clients to construct Section 8 budgets, determine and submit year-end settlements and provide guidance on implementation of appropriations rules changes as it relates to the funding of the Section 8 program.
TAG Associates staff has designed customized training programs for housing providers, non-profits, resident organizations and other agencies:
TAG has conducted frequent training for PHAs in PHAS, financial management, site based budgeting, housing management, and maintenance. Clients include housing authorities in Kansas City, Philadelphia, New haven, Pittsburgh, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Chicago, New York and Indianapolis. (All received financial, housing and/or asset management training.) TAG conducted research and prepared a guidebook for use by PHAs under contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) entitled "Guidebook for Monitoring and Enforcing Public Housing Agency Cooperation Agreements".
TAG Associates has been a leader in the development of programs for Section 3 participation, including:
Recent Section 3 experience includes writing Section 3 plans for the Kansas City, District of Columbia, and Detroit capital improvements programs.. TAG has assisted in training staff on these important procedures. In Kansas City, TAG has worked with residents in the business development of an RMC which contracts with the Authority for maintenance activities. TAG has developed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with contractors regarding Section 3 efforts and innovative resident training programs on HOPE VI projects.