Provided Services

Development Assistance and Advisory Services
Development Partnerships and Program Management
Talent Search and Board Training
Technical Assistance

Summary

Robert Rosenberg's relationship with the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) began in 1994, with his appointment as Federal District Court Receiver and now Judicial Administrator for Development. Under his leadership, the CHA's residential communities have been revitalized through the utilization of two existing major capital grants. Rosenberg began by completely revitalizing two family sites, and then obtained three HOPE VI awards to revitalize the balance of its portfolio.

Among the highlights:

  • Obsolete, crime-ridden housing has been replaced by multi-use, mixed income neighborhoods.
  • All the HOPE VI sites have been redesigned to integrate the developments into the communities surrounding them.
  • New street patterns have created individual street addresses for developments.
  • Each site has been renamed and given its own identity in an effort to erase the stigma from years of adverse publicity.
  • Our HOPE VI efforts in Chester are the driving force behind a comprehensive strategy to further revitalize the CHA and stimulate investment in the greater Chester community.
    For example, the Sustainability Committee that Rosenberg developed resulted in over 60 private and public sector leaders joining forces to ensure that the progress made in Chester will be maintained.
  • We have successfully moved many residents off public assistance and into well-paying jobs.

RHG serves as Judicial Administrator, Program Manager and HOPE VI coordinator. We have been responsible for negotiations with HUD and the developers, and have met all HUD reporting and compliance requirements.

Communities within the Chester Housing Authority:

Management Highlights at the PHAS in Chester, Pennsylvania

In addition to its HOPE VI development efforts in Chester as Federal Receiver, RHG provided technical assistance and oversight to the Chester Housing Authority. Rosenberg and RHG had dramatic success in turning around the CHA, including improving a perennial PHMAP “low performer” score from 35, when Rosenberg first took over, to a PHAS “high performer” designation of 91 in FY 2001.

A positive working relationship with CHA's resident leadership has also yielded the following results:

  • Totally rehabilitating 269 units at the Ruth L. Bennett Homes
  • Demolishing old units and building 160 new units at William Penn Houses
  • Renovating 177 units utilizing a $2,050,000 Vacancy Reduction Grant
  • Establishing a 24-hour security/maintenance presence, including the creation of a 10-person armed security force with police arrest powers to patrol the sites, which has taken back the streets from the drug dealers and greatly enhanced the quality of life for the residents
  • Implementing a comprehensive training program for CHA maintenance staff employees
  • Obtaining additional operating subsidies and Section 8 Administrative Fees
  • Receiving funding owed to the CHA from prior fiscal years
  • Securing an additional $1.1 million under Section 6J of the National Housing Act
  • Assisting the establishment of resident-owned businesses
  • Creating a plain-language lease with significant input from residents and their lawyers
  • Creating a unique arbitration procedure for all disputes between the CHA and its residents
  • Obtaining a $5,000,000 Development Grant for the acquisition and rehab of 50 off-site units for a home ownership program, which was subsequently integrated into the two HOPE VI grants

Sustaining Success

While building quality housing is the obvious component to any successful HOPE VI program, RHG's success in HOPE VI development hinges upon our ability to shape public and private sector partnerships to rebuild the social and economic infrastructure of the HOPE VI community.

In Chester, RHG pioneered the formation of the nation's first Sustainability Committee, a dedicated 60-member partnership of local businesses, foundations, public officials and residents who are working together to plan and fund job training, educational opportunities and recreation. The Committee's success and plans include:

  • Supporting the core mission of the Chester Housing Authority
  • Creating additional home ownership and employment opportunities for low- and moderate-income families in the neighboring community

Related Media

  • Chester Housing Authority Judicial Administrator for Development's Report 2011 by Robert C. Rosenberg  Download report PDF »
  • Remarks of Robert C. Rosenberg, Judicial Administrator for Development - Chester Housing Authority Sustainability Committee  Download report PDF »
  • Chester Housing Authority Judicial Administrator for Development's Report 2010 by Robert C. Rosenberg  Download report PDF »
  • Chester Housing Authority Judicial Administrator for Development’s Report 2008 by Robert C. Rosenberg  Download report PDF »
  • Chester Housing Authority: A Story of Transformation  Watch video »