Welcome to a new edition of our blog series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and highlight the important work they do.
Producing multifamily housing is incredibly hard work requiring multiple sources of financing but it only happens when many people come together in a common purpose – to create homes working families can afford. This mission brings together many diverse groups and each of them has a function as well as a stake in it.
Today, we meet Teresa Bainton who serves as HUD’s Director of the New York Multifamily HUB which manages HUD-assisted and financed multifamily housing programs in the Northeast.
A 39-year veterans at HUD, Teresa is “constantly on the go,” working with owners, managers, developers, elected officials, and others. She and her staff work tirelessly to make sure thousands of families, veterans and seniors have a decent affordable roof over their heads which contributes to a better quality of life and a brighter future.
What is the overarching task of your position?
At this point in time the goal of this office – particularly since New York is such a high cost area – the preservation of affordable housing is the number 1 goal. This means not only renewing Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Contracts, but insuring that those buildings that were originally constructed and/or rehabbed 20, 30 years ago are updated to today’s standards and continue to be safe for the residents that live there.
How much of a challenge is it to do that in New York City?
It can be a challenge but we have very good relationships with the New York City housing agencies. This includes the New York City Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Development Corporation, the New York State housing agency and the New York Homes & Community Renewal which provide financing, low-income tax credits and bond financing. In addition we work with private lending institutions in order to provide financing. HUD provides the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance which insures both the construction and permanent loans.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most is being able to provide affordable housing to the residents of, not only the City, but also the entire State of NY, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware.
You haven’t lived until you go to a ribbon cutting ceremony and meet with some of the residents and see how happy and grateful they are to be able to move into a place where they feel safe and have a good roof over their heads. It’s very rewarding.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Lack of funding. HUD’s Section 8 funding requirements continues to grow, however, the budget does not keep pace. This makes it extremely difficult to maintain affordable rents for housing developments. In addition, the financing of affordable housing requires a multitude of financing sources, in which its coordination can be complicated and cumbersome.
What would you like the general public to know about what you do?
We have oversight over a portfolio of privately owned housing. Our responsibility is to ensure that the buildings are being maintained both fiscally and physically. In addition, we provide mortgage insurance through FHA. FHA mortgage insurance is an important tool for the creation and preservation of affordable housing. Without the provision of FHA mortgage insurance, preservation of affordable housing developments, such as Co-Op City, would not have been made possible.
What would you like your staff to know?
Firstly, I would like to thank them for their hard work in contributing to HUD’s mission. They are instrumental in providing one of the most basic human needs for our residents…affordable, quality and safe housing.
Teresa Bainton has been recognized for her work by multiple organizations with which she has worked with through the years. Last June, Teresa received the 2013 Community Service Award from the United Hebrew of New Rochelle for her “outstanding commitment and devotion to the welfare of the Westchester Community”.
This month, Teresa received the Public Service Award from the New York Housing Conference (NYHC) and the National Housing Conference (NHC), a coalition of nonprofit and private developers, owners, managers, and real estate professionals devoted to creating and preserving affordable housing. NYHC/NHC takes an active role in promoting strong housing policies, as well as advocating for adequate funding and increased public awareness of the need for and benefits of affordable housing.
“It is huge, I never expected it,” said Teresa. “I never thought that I would be awarded this honor in my lifetime. When you look at the list of the past honorees, to know that my name is going to be included on that list in the future is quite overwhelming.”
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next month for a new edition of A Day in the Life!
Olga Alvarez is Regional Public Affairs Officer in HUD’s New York regional office.