Video: Ferndale Housing Director Gives Updates on Programs, Grants, Equity, and Properties
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 23, 2022)
Ferndale, MI – There’s been a lot happening in the Ferndale Housing Commission since COVID began, including the ways administrators and residents have adapted, an in-depth-look at race and equity, and changes in the course of property management.
Heather VanPoucker is Director of the FHC, which is located in Ferndale but serves clients throughout Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. Because they’re headquartered in Ferndale, the Board is made up of Ferndale residents appointed by the council, but the commission owns the properties, manages the programs, and makes the decisions. There are 166 homes, including apartments in Autumn House and Withington West, as well as houses throughout the city. Plus they administer about 900 vouchers in the tri-county area.
Prior to the pandemic, FHC had been going through a process called a RAD conversion that would have allowed for restructuring their portfolio of properties to maximize space and the use of their assets. However, with COVID slowing things down and a new administration in Washington, there are even more options housing commissions can explore.
In an interview with Oakland County Times, VanPoucker talks about those plans, as well as other changes in the FHC such as the addition of computer labs and free wi-fi throughout the two main buildings. A grant from the Ferndale Communtiy Foundation provided computer training to residents, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. And this year another grant will continue that progress as well as help people get their GED. FHC also added food pantries in the main buildings for residents.
Another important topic for the FHC has been race and equity. VanPoucker talked about some of the training and evaluation they’ve gone trough with LaTosch Consulting, who specializes in Diversity and Inclusion. Other topics included the efforts of Oakland County Commissioners to encourage local ordinances against source of income discrimination, advocacy for housing and more.
To hear about these things and more, check out our interview below: