Fielding a tenant’s call for a busted water heater or trying to find a solution for a door that’s ajar are not-so-new experiences for San Marcos resident Frank Arredondo.
Arredondo in 2014 retired from his position within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked with housing authorities and fielded resident’s complaints.
Last month, Arredondo was tabbed as Executive Director on an interim basis for the maligned Kyle Housing Authority.
While much work has to be accomplished, Arredondo said he plans to not only revamp the entire KHA, but improve the quality of life for those living in the Charles Young and Pete Dresser housing complexes.
“I try to be aggressive to take care of as much as I can,” Arredondo said. “I want that next person that walks in here, or if I take that position, to have it running smoothly.”
Arredondo, who said he has never operated a housing authority before, applied for the position after a friend alerted him to problems within the KHA.
A November 2016 HUD audit alleged severe deficiencies within the KHA, which was under the guidance of then-Executive Director Vickie Simpson.
The audit alleged the KHA had operated without a board of directors for roughly a decade. In addition, the audit cited administrator pay issues and maintenance problems.
The change in leadership from Simpson, who submitted her resignation in November 2016, was made official Dec. 31 after a new board of directors was appointed.
Arredondo, who offered his services to the board, was appointed in early 2017. He began the task of meeting with the board and assessing the state of the two complexes.
What he discovered is a complex process that begins with how the 51 total units are funded.
The United States Department of Agriculture Rural and Community Development program funds the 30-unit Pete Dresser homes on Burleson Road, while HUD funds the 21-unit Charles Young complex, located on Second Street.
Hybrid funding programs for housing complexes is something normally found in larger housing authorities, Arredondo said.
Finding the balance of federal paperwork and addressing maintenance concerns is also a challenge.
Arredondo said the KHA staff consists of himself and a maintenance man, who are responsible for not only routine maintenance, but also to clean vacant units for move in. He has so far contracted assistance to help with maintenance duties.
“The housing units, they have been here a while,” Arredondo said. “They’re aged some and they need some extra care.”
Routine fixes include water heaters, refrigerators, ovens, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units and bathtubs, along with landscaping duties. Arredondo said he plans to check units’ HVAC systems one-by-one in the future, along with window screens and other things “I believe need to be done.”
Arrendondo said he personally thought the units could have used more attention over the years.
“Without faulting anyone, it’s the funding that’s difficult, to have enough hands to get the work done.” Frank Arredondo, Kyle Housing Authority interim director
Improving the administrative side of the authority is also a plan of action. Checks are “being done on typewriter,” Arredondo said.
Upgrading filing systems is an important feat. Arredondo said filing cabinets are needed as documents were stored in cardboard boxes, but not filed.
In June, Arredondo must submit a comprehensive budget to HUD. Next week, auditors are expected to visit the KHA.
Simpson is assisting the process by helping Arredondo find certain documents and what reports must be submitted, he said. Residents were “sad to see her go” and that she had a “good repertoire” with tenants, Arredondo said.
The KHA has also reached out to the community for assistance as well. Arredondo said Lehman High’s shop class was commissioned to fix the Charles Young sign.
“I’m trying to take it one step at a time and not take too big a bite I can’t work,” Arredondo said.