I know there is a new administration and I am sure there will be many changes in HUD. But that is not what this blog is about. It is about the changes I have observed in the past 10 years. Not regulatory changes, but ‘people’ changes.
The HUD I first knew has made a shift from tenants to procedures. When I first started to work with managers they spent a lot of time focusing on the tenant. The staff seemed to interact more with tenants. They knew their names, their stories; they shared celebrations with them and sometimes even cried with them. These days, this seems to be missing.
No, I am not talking about everyone, but it is enough people to wonder what has happened.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself;
- How many clients do you know by name, their real name not the one you made up?
- When was the last time you sat with a tenant and talked about something that didn’t relate to a housing problem?
- Do you know what any of your tenants did in their past lives?
- When was the last party you had for the tenants? I remember places that did monthly birthday parties, this past holiday season there were places that did not celebrate any type of December event.
- With our tenants being older and more fragile there will be deaths in your building, when was the last time you had a memorial service?
How may did you answer yes too? I hope there were several.
The first thing you may tell me is that you are way too busy, you have less staff and maybe you are busy. I know you have a bottom line to maintain. We all have that issue. But do you know what you are missing?
You may see little old cranky men and women but look further. Try to find something out about a tenant. I have meet WWII pilots and nurses. I have met Holocaust survivors and have heard their stories. I talked to a man who knew Martin Luther King, Jr. and even someone who met Mother Teresa. Oh, and I even met a lady of the night!
Take the time to meet one of your tenants and ask them about their prior lives. You may be surprised.
Statistically one out of ten of you will actually take the time to meet a tenant. For those of you who do talk with a tenant, let me know how it went. I would like to know. Send me a story or two….
For those who know your tenants and have some stories I would like to hear them also. With your permission we would create a special newsletter with the stories.
No doubt being involved can be very hard and tiring. Getting to know a tenant or two might help make it more enjoyable.