The Houston Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) today announced a restructuring that will restore financial integrity, improve performance and facilitate expansion of the mission to include a new focus on community development.
“This is a top to bottom reorganization reflecting our commitment to improved operations and changing the overall culture and public perception of HCD,” said HCD Director Jim Noteware. “It involves everything from greater focus on communication and transparency to improved staff training and enhanced monitoring of compliance with federal and state guidelines. This department has had difficulties for years. Mayor Parker’s charge was to fix it. This plan will do just that.”
The restructuring includes a reduction in force of 29 positions. “This step is necessary to reduce spending that has exceeded our allowance for administration of the grants that we manage,” said Mr. Noteware. “We have to live within our means.”
The employees affected by the reduction in force are being notified today. HCD is working closely with the City’s Human Resources Department to try to place the employees elsewhere in City government. There will also be a post-employment meeting to provide the affected employees with information about counseling, health insurance, pensions, training opportunities, unemployment benefits and outplacement services.
Mr. Noteware decided against a larger reduction in force that would have eliminated the deficit entirely due to concerns that it would harm the department’s performance. Staffing levels will continue to be reviewed as operational improvements are fully implemented over the next six to twelve months. The steps announced today will help the department meet its primary objectives – to provide decent housing, create a suitable living environment and expand economic opportunities, principally for Houston ’s low and moderate income persons. The department manages and administers both federal and non-federal grant funds that are dedicated for the development of viable urban communities.