September 12, 2014

A Day in the Life: Office of Public and Indian Housing, Jackson, Mississippi

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A Day in the Life Office of Public and Indian Housing2

Welcome to another edition of our blog series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and highlight the important work they do.

Today we meet William Radau, a Revitalization Specialist in the Office of Public Housing Revitalization in HUD’s Jackson, Mississippi field office.

What is your typical day like?

Our job requires us to perform a wide range of duties. I spend a lot of time talking with public housing authorities and fielding questions from public housing residents or those who are looking for public housing. I also assist housing authorities with complex problems they encounter in managing and administering both the public housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs.  I also review and analyze current and historical financial data and audits from the Office of Inspector General and reports from independent public accountants on various areas including the Residential Self Sufficiency and Economic Independence programs.

What is the overarching task of your position?

The overarching task of my job is to ensure that the public housing authorities are managed well.

How long have you been in your current role?

I started my career with HUD in 1979 as a Single Family Appraiser. During my years at HUD, I have seen many changes.  The most significant change was the beginning of asset management for housing authorities.

In 1981, I transferred to the Assisted Housing Branch which consisted of staff assigned to monitor public housing, existing Section 8 housing, and non-insured multifamily housing.   I first worked with the Department of Agriculture’s Section 515/8 apartments as a Housing Management Specialist, which meant reviewing vouchers, reviewing rents and conducting on site management reviews.  Later on, the responsibility of monitoring non-insured housing was transferred out of our office and I started working with public housing authorities.   My job at that time included reviewing the management of Public Housing and Section 8 housing operations. My job title changed to Public Housing Revitalization Specialist.

What is the most exciting part about your job?

In my current role I have the opportunity to work with people across the state, which is interesting and exciting.  I have visited housing authorities across the country in states including California, New Jersey, and Florida.   I found that, for the most part, the housing authorities face the same issues as those in Mississippi.  One major difference was that those states have a more diverse population than Mississippi. Sometimes unexpected things occur.   For example, I was visiting a housing authority which had security cameras installed throughout. I have a diabetic condition and on one occasion I was seen by a staffer just standing in front of a door, and the staffer recognized that I was suffering from low blood sugar and she came to assist me.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job in is providing such a wide range of services to the public housing authorities in my portfolio.  I have to know all of the Public and Indian Housing regulations—financial, modernization, management and occupancy—and it can be challenging.

Where did you work prior to your position at HUD?

Before coming to HUD in 1979, I was a student at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM,) where I met my pretty wife, who is from Venezuela. I served four and a half years in the Navy before entering USM.  That service was in Washington State (Pacific Beach) and on the nuclear cruiser, The USS Long Beach (named after the city in California, not Mississippi).

Tell us something interesting about your life outside of HUD

I enjoy listening to music and reading.  I have a major collection of world music that includes Portuguese fados; Latin American cumbias and vallenatos; and music of eastern European countries as well.   And I have a large collection of military history which focuses on the eastern front during World War II and naval operations in the Pacific Theater.   I also hope that my empty nest will soon have visiting grandchildren.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next month for a new edition of A Day in the Life!

Ziva James is a Senior Management Analyst, Office of Field Policy and Management in the Jackson, Mississippi field office.

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