23 Mar A Message from President & CEO Anne McCulloch – HPET’s Commitment and Work Continue During COVID-19
We are all Neighbors, Sheltering Each Other
The world is in uncharted territory as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We at Housing Partnership Equity Trust are committed to ensuring that our residents and our partners’ on-site staffs are protected, safe and taking the necessary steps to avoid the spread of this terrible virus.
As a central participant in the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (“NOAH”) space, HPET takes its roles and responsibilities seriously. We recognize that we serve a particularly vulnerable population – largely hourly-wage workers whose income is dependent on maintaining work hours – and that our residents and we will be extraordinarily challenged in the days ahead. We leverage the strength of our members – best-in-class nonprofits — to provide safe, decent affordable housing. While we actively manage our investments, each partner serves as the managing member of each property and we are humbled by and appreciative of the personal commitment each partner is making to support our residents and communities. Accordingly, we have undertaken the following collaborative steps since the onset of this pandemic:
1. Remote teleworking for the entire HPET team, beginning Friday, March 13. In the days prior to “going virtual,” we guided staff through taking equipment home and getting set-up to ensure their work could continue as smoothly as possible.
2. Daily all-staff video meetings to maintain the team’s collaborative culture and avoid social isolation. Our standing agenda items include the business at hand relating to our investments and new developments of the day. We video conference, call, and text with each other throughout the day, all as ways of replicating our office environment—small, cohesive and open—with a virtual one.
3. Outreach to our co-investors regarding conditions at the properties and the challenges they are facing. We contacted all of our partners with whom we have invested in our nearly 3,000 NOAH units to learn:
b. What kind of communications have gone out to residents?
c. How are our partners ensuring a clean environment on site?
d. What is the impact of any federal, state and local governmental actions on the operations of the properties?
e. Have there been any cases on site and/or among staff and what kind of plans are/will be in place?
The answers have demonstrated an extremely strong commitment to protecting residents and staff, to adhering to all CDC guidelines—updated as they develop—and to communicating regularly with residents of the properties.
4. Deferral of elective capital improvements on the properties while continuing to address life/safety issues and repairs necessary for re-tenanting apartments.
5. Redoubled focus on company fiscal discipline to maintain our liquidity through this crisis.
6. Engagement with federal regulators, policy makers and a broad range of housing advocacy organizations to highlight the needs of the people we serve and of our organization.
Now more than ever, people need affordable housing. In the midst of this global challenge, like you, our first thoughts are about the safety of our larger community as well as our staff, our residents, and the partners who are working to serve our residents every day. The steps we have taken with our partners will position our investments to perform as well as possible in this environment, with prudent, fiscal responsibility. As this situation evolves, our response will evolve and we will share what we are doing with you. We value the trust that you have placed in us and we work every day to earn that trust anew.