Did you know that there are several things you can be doing right now to prepare for the winter months ahead?
Employees should be trained on proper snow removal techniques and be aware of your organization’s snow removal policy. Proper training not only reduces the likelihood of workers’ compensation claims, but may also reduce slip, trip, or fall claims on your properties. If a slip, trip, or fall claim does occur, having the proper snow removal documentation will aid in defense of that claim.
Employees should be taking the proper steps to prepare their properties for winter weather. These preparations should include winterizing units by blocking drafts around windows and doors and cleaning out rain gutters to prevent future ice dams once the snow falls. Heating systems should be tuned up, check and insulate water lines that run on exterior walls or in unheated interior areas, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked and batteries replaced. All snow removal equipment should be checked to ensure it is in working condition. Vehicles used by the organization should be on a preventative maintenance schedule and checked before winter. Fuel burning equipment should be vented. For vacant units, you must be mindful of frozen pipes and security issues, as vacant units may be used as a shelter for those that want to get out of the cold.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. Restricting residents from using candles, space heaters, and certain holiday decorations may help reduce your organization’s chance of fires. If you do plan on allowing these objects on your properties, please remind your residents on how to properly use these hazardous items.
Emergency Action Plans (EAPs), Business Continuity Plans (BCPs), snow removal policies, resident lease addendums/policies, accident investigation procedures, claim reporting procedures, and property inspection procedures should be reviewed and understood by all parties. Create relationships with local public safety officials to have a documented plan in case of an emergency. If a contractor is used for snow removal, contracts by legal counsel should be drafted and signed. These contracts should include hold harmless language (protecting the housing organization from liability), a provision requiring proper documentation, and outline the responsibilities of the contractor. Contractors should also have adequate insurance for your organization.
Be sure to visit our Risk Management Center to access additional training and snow removal resources. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Elizabeth Owens, Director, Risk Control and Consulting, at or 800-873-0242 ext. 228.
Record Number of Voters Ensures Strong Leadership
Our 2018 Board of Directors election resulted in the highest percentage of votes cast in HAI Group’s history! This came after we contracted with a third party election management service to provide a more efficient, web-based ballot to our Membership. Housing Authority Risk Retention Group, Inc. (HARRG) had 26.4% of possible votes cast, and Housing Authority Property Insurance, A Mutual Company (HAPI) had 23.7% of possible votes cast.
This year, we had a slate of four Board of Directors with terms set to expire at the end of the year, and all four candidates were re-elected for three-year terms.
- James DiPaolo, Denver Housing Authority
- Doug Dzema, Perth Amboy Housing Authority
- Christine Hart, Brattleboro Housing Authority
- Len Williams, Columbus Housing Authority
Of the votes cast from HARRG, 95% voted to pass the slate, and for HAPI, 97% voted to pass the slate.
Following the results of the election, the Governance Committee approved the full roster of 2019 Board of Directors and Committee Members. Please click here to view the roster. If you are interested in serving on a Committee in 2019 and would like more information, please contact us at .
New Report for Download on the Preservation on LIHTC Properties
The Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation and the National Low Income Housing Coalition have just released a new report, Balancing Priorities: Preservation and Neighborhood Opportunity in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program Beyond Year 30, which sheds light on preservation challenges and neighborhood opportunity with LIHTC units, discussing how scarce resources led to a dilemma between the priorities of preserving affordable housing and promoting mobility for low-income families to higher-opportunity neighborhoods.
By 2030, nearly half a million current LIHTC units, or nearly a quarter of the total stock will reach the end of all federally mandated rent-affordability and income restrictions. Some of these units will be lost from the affordable housing supply as they convert to market-rate rents. Others may be lost to physical deterioration unless new capital investment is available for rehabilitation and renovation.
The report addresses this dilemma by offering a broader vision for a housing safety net and proposes five strategies housing providers can consider when developing an affordable housing investment plan that incorporates place-based subsidies in a companion piece. This report is based on data from several sources, including the National Housing Preservation Database (NHPD). HAI Group is a proud sponsor of the NHPD, which is the only de-duplicated national database of federally assisted rental housing that gives stakeholders information on when and where affordability restrictions will expire. The database includes properties subsidized through HUD, USDA, and LIHTC. To learn more about the resources available in the NHPD, including a filterable database, mapping tool, state profiles, and user tutorials, click here.
We encourage you to read these reports, utilize the tools, and share them with your colleagues to assist in efforts to preserve and expand your community’s affordable housing stock.
2019 Resident Scholarship Program
The 2019 Resident Scholarship Program will begin accepting applications from your residents in January 2019.
The Resident Scholarship Program sponsored by Housing Authority Insurance, Inc., has been providing scholarships to public housing and housing choice voucher residents of our members since 2003. To date, more than $1,000,000 has been awarded to over 400 residents.
We encourage you to please help spread the word on this great opportunity by sharing this link with the person in your organization that works with residents, and instructing them to opt-in to receive correspondence and updates on the 2019 Scholarship Program.
HAI Group’s Annual Charitable Giving
Thanks to all of the hard work, time, and generosity of our employees, HAI Group’s 2018 fundraising efforts allowed our company to support five charities throughout the year!
Under the leadership of employee’s on our Community and Resident Services Team, here are just some of the many philanthropic efforts we’ve accomplished this year:
- New Haven Housing Authority (CT) – Donations were provided to go towards their back to school drive fundraiser.
- Columbus House in New Haven, CT – New home baskets were made to donate to individuals moving out of homelessness into housing
- Malta House in Norwalk, CT – Baby baskets were gifted to young mothers who needed a little extra help.
- Crosby High School in Waterbury, CT – Backpacks and school supplies were donated to children in need.
- LISA, Inc. in Bristol, CT – Backpacks and school supplies were donated to children in need.
- Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries (CT) – A cereal drive was held to help stock up the shelves for this organization which provides hot meals, emergency food, and supportive services to those in need.
- Meals for the Needy in Bristol, CT – A Thanksgiving food drive was held to provide Thanksgiving meal kits.
Member Benefits: Complimentary Cyber Liability Coverage and Life Insurance
As we get ready for 2019, be sure to take advantage of HAI Group’s cyber liability coverage and life insurance policy – available at no cost to our policyholders!
Cyber Liability Coverage
As a housing organization, you store data that is attractive to criminals, making you particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. Preparing for a cyber-attack makes good business sense, which is why we purchase a master cyber liability policy for HAI Group members.
This annual policy protects against first- and third-party losses, providing a $250K aggregate limit per year.
Life Insurance Policy
Every January, your employees, and commissioners have the opportunity to sign up for our complimentary term life insurance policy for the upcoming calendar year. This policy offers a $5,000 death benefit, decreasing at age 65 to $3,250, and again at 70 to $2,500. You can designate beneficiaries, and new employees can be added within 30 days of employment or appointment.
Once enrolled, we provide your organization with a Certificate of Insurance showing all coverage details. Look for our informational email this month to get signed up for 2019. For more information, click here to read our Top Ten Facts of Term Life Insurance.