GARY, Ind., May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- C. Ray Baker & Associates, Inc. (CRB) is winning kudos from residents and community stakeholders as they complete their management contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). CRB was retained to support HUD and the city to implement the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement established to recover the Gary Housing Authority (GHA). Gary Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, last year, took the unprecedented step of asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to take control of the GHA after years of inattentive management left the authority in shambles. HUD appointed public housing experts, CRB, in April 2014, to provide administrative support services. CRB Founder, Charlton R. Baker, was named GHA's Acting Executive Director.
CRB's management team immediately took steps to improve quality-of-life for GHA residents by re-engaging a network of community-based social service providers. This holistic approach included partnerships with: The Red Cross for emergency medical response training; The Foodbank of Northwest Indiana which provides free monthly food boxes to qualified Lake County Senior residents; Meals on Wheels and Hearts in Motion to provide food and house-keeping services for seniors; The Lake County Minority Health Coalition to address minority health disparities; Geminus Community Partners for health and social service assistance; WorkOne of Northwest Indiana for employment skills and training and Anew Life Youth Development for construction industry job training and placement.
Empowerment and education are two cornerstones of CRB's resident services approach. CRB worked to forge a strong relationship with Tenant Council Leaders for all GHA properties, providing them with guidance and assistance on such matters as Community Policing, vendor contracts, establishing a protocol for meeting with Property Managers, and sharing the opportunity to participate in welcoming new residents to their buildings.
"It is important for residents to have a voice, and it's impressive when residents voice their support to the managing agency," stated Dr. Vanessa Allen, President & CEO, of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, which oversees the GHA Tenant Council elections. "Most recently, the residents sent several letters to my office expressing nothing but admiration for the way C. Ray Baker & Associates have attended to the needs of the residents. Job well done," added Dr. Allen.
CRB's management philosophy also led to high praise from Billie Morris, President of the Genesis Towers High-Rise Tenant Council who says she has lived in the building for four years and has "never met any kinder, nicer people who were more sincere about the residents."
The strong commitment of the CRB team was clearly evident to the Genesis Towers residents who experienced a fire and major displacement last fall, just before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Damage from the November 15, 2014 fire forced the temporary relocation of more than 80 residents. CRB enlisted a host of resources to help residents get through the holidays. All residents of Genesis Towers were relocated to the Majestic Star Hotel where Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and CRB in established the Disaster Response Operations Center.
Genesis Towers residents were able to make the most of the Thanksgiving holiday and within 10 days of the fire, 85% of the residents were back at home, thanks to the generosity of numerous vendors and social service providers. Those generous patrons included Wal-Mart; Majestic Star Hotel; Catholic Charities; Gary Public Transportation Corporation; the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana; Gary Common Council; Lake Area United Way: Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly Robinson; Hearts in Motion and BMO Home Healthcare. The last resident returned to Genesis Towers on December 13, 2014, with repairs on the unit complete.
Morris said she and her fellow residents appreciate CRB's "Open Door Policy" and the fact that they are doing for the residents of the Gary Housing Authority what they said they would do. She called them "men of their word."
Regena Gaines, President of Concord Village Tenant Council also praised C. Ray Baker and Associates because she says she sees the progress being made. She said she and her fellow tenants are excited about all the things they see. CRB's management contract with HUD will conclude in May 2015.
C. Ray Baker and Associates, Inc. is an 8(a) and MBE-certified, full-service consulting firm specializing in Real Estate Development, Program Management and Management Consulting. The firm, founded in 2006 by Chairman and CEO, Charlton R. Baker, has offices in Madison, Detroit and Washington DC.
SOURCE C. Ray Baker & Associates