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Shawn Burr

Shawn Burr

Executive Director, Rochester Housing Authority

Years in current role: 8 (32 with RHA)

What are the biggest challenges you see in your industry currently?

The biggest challenge currently is the lack of suitable, quality, affordable housing. RHA’s Section 8 program participants struggle to find affordable housing that meets their needs. We have increased our standard search time from 60 to 90 days and are still issuing extensions beyond 90 days. There are a variety of factors contributing to this, and even though we have many affordable housing development projects providing more housing, it’s still not enough. The second-biggest challenge is staffing shortages. There’s been a lot of employee turnover across the industry, resulting in many vacant positions and heavier workloads for existing staff, increased stress and burnout, and an “employee’s marketplace” with many organizations competing for employees.

What are the most common concerns you hear from clients?

Safety and security or staff and residents rank right up there. RHA has implemented more security coverage this past year and will be investing significant funds on a security camera and access control upgrade across the organization. We work closely with RPD, who have been a great partner. Increased utility costs is another common concern. We continue to improve weatherization at our sites and have done some great projects with Action for a Better Community. Our renovation, preservation and development projects incorporate new Green Energy concepts and Clean Energy Standards into the design and upgrades.

How do you manage work/life balance?

Managing a work/life balance is important. I have found that golfing is a great way to come to the realization that frustrations at work are nothing compared to missing a 3-foot putt. Staying active with exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and spending quality time with family and friends are what help me balance.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 30 Real Estate & Construction list for 2023. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at