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Shawn D. Burrburr-shawn-8x10-sb

Deputy Executive Director, Rochester Housing Authority

Years in current role: 6

What do you enjoy most about your role?

RHA is continuously researching programs, services and events for the benefit of our residents and participants. Our goal is to provide a full range of services that decreases the dependency on government-assisted programs and improves the quality of life through self-sufficiency and economic independence. Eased restrictions allow RHA to restart in-person GED preparation, financial literacy classes, summer camp for resident youth and job readiness courses. I am looking forward to continuing to grow these programs, meeting in person with our neighbourhoods and communities and celebrating the accomplishments of our residents. Our “Changing the Face of Public Housing” initiative follows the saying that “just because it’s public housing, doesn’t mean it has to look like public housing.”

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our residents, participants and staff. RHA serves more than 26,000 lower-income residents and program participants in the five-county area. The health and safety of our residents is a top priority, and over the past year we worked diligently to help prevent the spread of the virus and ensured the needs of those we served were addressed. The most difficult part was closing communal areas at residential buildings and placing strict limitations on visitors. Many of our senior residents rely on people outside their home to help with basic needs and emotional wellness. While our resident services team works to enrich the quality of life for our senior residents, it’s not the same as having the friend and family connection.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the real estate and construction industries in the next 3-5 years?

Supply and demand issues resulting in increased costs, which will make it difficult to develop true affordable housing. Relying on state and federal funding to assist in filling the gaps, so quality doesn’t suffer. Currently, it is a “seller’s market” with home sales exceeding $50,000-$60,000 above the asking price. This will have a long-term effect in raising home values, which will lead to increased taxes, making affordability difficult for low- to moderate-income people.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning — I’m very passionate about keeping our children safe from the effects of lead poisoning.

Partners Ending Homelessness — RHA’s mission is to provide quality affordable housing and resources and our homeless population has some of the greatest needs.

RMAPI — addressing issues surrounding poverty in our community is important to all of us.

What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?

Restoring the connectivity between residents and increased community activities. RHA is continuously researching programs, services and events for the benefit of our residents and participants. Our goal is to provide a full range of services that decreases the dependency on government-assisted programs and improves the quality of life through self-sufficiency and economic independence. Eased restrictions allow RHA to restart in-person GED preparation, financial literacy classes, summer camp for resident youth and job readiness courses. I am looking forward to continuing to grow these programs, meeting in person with our neighbourhoods and communities and celebrating the accomplishments of our residents while continuing to provide a quality affordable home for our residents.

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