RMCs Aim to Please?

by  Assistant Editor

Resident Management Corporations – Do they aim to please?

That is the question I asked residents leaders, residents and others who view their actions on a daily basic. Resident Management Corporations are known to the residents in public housing as RMCs. They are corporations which are fully staffed and run by residents who manage the developments they reside in. I asked everyone the question, “Does resident management work?”

Carol Steele, president of a Resident Management Corporation in the Cabrini-Green row-houses, said, “Before residents took over from CHA, (the managers) were doing a poor job. In the Cabrini row-houses, 55 crawl spaces were filled with dirty water, waste and grease. Since our RMC has been in operation, we have sanitized them. Roofs are being repaired. Before, it took CHA 1 to 3 years to fill a work order. We have a turn-around time of 48 hours for a regular work order and 24 hours for an emergency.”

As an advocate for resident management, Steele added, “We have brought property values up. Everywhere you go, you will find some people for and some against. But our accomplishment speaks for itself.

Northeast Scattered Site Resident Management Corporation President Willie Burrell said, “We were the first RMC in the nation for scattered sites. We were established in 1992. We were also the first (RMC) to establish an LAC – a Local Advisory Council. We opened up the doors of opportunity for others. No other scattered sites were represented by duly elected officers.

“We have a class action and an individual lawsuit on CHA concerning fair housing and discrimination against the residents.

Burrell, whose RMC does not yet run his development, went on, “We feel that the residents are being denied the opportunity to participate fully in federally funded programs. We are asking that CHA pay each Northeast Scattered Site lease-holding resident $10,000 each and $25 million to the Northeast Scattered site RMC.”

CHA spokesperson Derek Hill said, “When it comes to RMCs and any given situation, we have some that are good, adequate and excellent. We have such a situation in CHA. Some are good. Some are adequate and some are excellent, just like in anything else.”

Hill concluded, “We have not seen that lawsuit concerning Willie Burrell so we can not comment on it at this time.” A Northeast Scattered Site resident who wishes not to be named said “I think that management is keeping the units in decent condition. I have had a problem with paperwork in the past but they always end up getting taken care of.”

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