COVID-19 March 20th Update
March 20, 2020
Dear Champaign Community,
In the interest of public health, the Housing Authority of Champaign County has implemented a temporary closure of the administrative office which became effective on March 18, 2020 at 12:00 P.M. HACC is taking preventative measures to protect the health and safety of our clients and residents during this time of uncertainty. The potential threat of the COVID-19 virus became a reality to HACC after discovering that two employees experienced symptoms of the virus. Both employees who have exhibited symptoms of the virus are currently under a self-imposed 14-day quarantine. One employee is currently awaiting test results. The two individuals in question do not hold positions in which they interact with the general public on a daily basis, and both had minimal interaction with other employees over the past 10-14 days due to work-related travel and position duties.
We have secured an emergency contract for cleaning and sanitation services for our administrative office during this period, and we hope to return to operation no later than the Monday, March 23, 2020. Over the next several days, every office and common space in our administrative office will be sanitized by a third-party specialized cleaning company.
Leadership team members and other essential positions of HACC are working remotely to continue critical housing operations during this period. We want the public to know that housing the most vulnerable individuals remains our top priority even during this global pandemic and the rising uncertainty that we face as a nation. We are still accepting critical documentation electronically. HACC understands the impact that this national crisis has on our community and the individual families that we serve. Our agency is working diligently to develop a comprehensive plan that ensures our ability to withstand the social and economic impact that COVID-19 virus poses to our clients and employees.
After consultation with HACC's Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Dr. Grant G. Henry and Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 11:15 A.M, David A. Northern, Sr., CEO of the Housing Authority of Champaign County held a phone conference with all employees in the administrative office. During this conference, Mr. Northern expressed HACC's rising concern over the virus, explained the agency's next steps regarding employee interactions with each other as well as the public, and released all administrative office employees to a remote work environment until Monday, March 23, 2020. David A. Northern, Sr. advised all employees who may be experiencing symptoms to "self-quarantine for the CDC recommended 14 days, and to communicate such experiences with the agency's HR department."
Below, we have outlined some of the steps that HACC has currently undertaken to minimize the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of our clients, residents, and employees while maintaining the highest level of service we are able to provide:
- HACC's administration offices are closed to the public.
- Vital documents will be accepted via email, fax or drop box. To help prevent the spread of germs, we strongly encourage these documents to be submitted electronically.
- Appointments have been postponed (recertification inspections, briefings, hearings, etc.).
- Move-in inspections and 24-hour special inspections will continue to be completed.
- Termination will not be processed at this time.
- HACC encourages owners not to proceed with evictions.
- HACC will be flexible with pending voucher expiration dates.
- Participants whose employment is affected by the COVID-19, please email your documentation so staff may review for a rent change.
Effective immediately, HACC has placed a moratorium on lease enforcements for all non-violent and non-criminal activity related evictions for properties owned or managed by the authority. The moratorium is effective until further notice and is intended to prevent homelessness during this crisis. All pending court cases will be postponed. Additionally, properties owned and managed by our agency, HACC will not process any terminations of voucher assistance for individuals on the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Many Individuals living in our properties are elderly and/or disabled and those who are on our voucher program, are exceedingly below the area median income. Research tells us these populations are significantly more vulnerable to the contraction and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because of this reason, we are taking preventative measures to ensure the health and safety of our clients, residents, and staff. Over the past week, our leadership team has been completely engaged in developing policies and procedures that help guide our agency during this time of uncertainty. I want the public to rest assured that HACC takes this outbreak very seriously and we are working on ways to limit our interaction with the public while upholding our commitment to public service and community leadership during this time.
HACC encourages the community to remain engaged with us through social media, our website, and by communicating with us through our community concerns email an hotline.
For social media updates, please visit us on Facebook at Housing Authority of Champaign County, Housing Authority of Champaign County Enrichment Foundation, Housing Authority of Champaign County YouthBuild.
Our thoughts and prayers to the community at this time,
David A. Northern Sr.