#HousersAtWork: The Waco Housing Authority
Milet Hopping, the President and CEO of Waco Housing Authority & Affiliates (WHAA), recently discussed some ways in which her agency is keeping both staff and residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.
Ensuring that children can continue their education online while staying home is one of the agency’s top priorities. WHAA installed hot spots and towers to boost tenant internet access. In partnership with the Waco Independent School District, WHAA will host on-site Saturday School sessions with local teachers. The agency also partnered with Family Health Center to provide telemedicine virtual workstations and COVID-19 prevention posters.
WHAA staff regularly call senior and disabled residents to ensure their needs are being met. They also contact residents who test positive to ensure they can safely self-isolate. Virtual unit tours, orientations, and RAD tenant meetings help keep residents at a safe social distance.
Most staff worked remotely during the start of the pandemic. WHAA compiled ‘Go Home Kits’ for staff who would need to isolate, including personal hot spots, laptops, and work phones. Some have returned to the office under new safety guidelines, but are not meeting face-to-face with residents. The agency implemented a face mask contest to encourage compliance with mask guidelines.
Over the past few weeks, WHAA also responded to the call for racial justice. Agency leadership conducted racial equity evaluations on staffing, wages, experience, and training. They also plan to record ‘Virtual Storytime’ sessions for children and families. Staff will read books on “celebrating differences, racial equity, and being kind to one another.”