Repositioning Analysis Q & A

Interview with the Expert: Amber Skoby, Consulting Team Leader

Amber is our Housing Preservation Services Consulting Leader. She provides expertise, innovation, and high-level support to housing agencies to improve, protect, and preserve their affordable housing communities. As the former Executive Director at Bloomington Housing Authority, Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience to D3G. In addition to her strategic planning efforts around preservation funding, physical improvements, and resident well-being, Amber has successfully managed large-scale portfolio conversions through the RAD program and Special Applications Center.

What is D3G's Repositioning Analysis (RA)? 

A: Our Repositioning Analysis reviews a Public Housing Authority portfolio to assist with long-term housing stabilization and recapitalization planning. It walks a PHA through HUD's repositioning options and how their portfolio would benefit financially, administratively, and, in most cases, with capital improvements. We also highlight any potential barriers to a repositioning transaction, whether that be an environmental concern or physical conditions that would require extensive repairs. If repositioning is viable, we suggest a roadmap with the next steps and timelines.

Who is the Repositioning Analysis for?

A: Public Housing Authority leadership, Board of Commissioners, community stakeholders, and potential development partners would benefit from a repositioning analysis's outcomes. Anyone interested in the preservation of affordable housing and how a PHA can continue to meet its mission will find the report helpful in better understanding the process and benefits. Jumping into a program like RAD without understanding the details can be risky; thus, we view the analysis as breaking down those details so that any pursuance of repositioning is a calculated and informed risk.

What components make up an RA? 

A: We start with a better understanding of the PHA's knowledge of its assets and vision for the portfolio's future. With this in mind, we dive into a physical condition assessment, environmental investigation, and overall property research. It's within this section that we describe any significant capital needs concerns or potential environmental hazards. After the initial existing property research and understanding of the estimated costs of capital improvements, we begin applying financial feasibility calculations. These calculations compare rental revenue scenarios to how much debt or low-income housing tax credits can be used in refinancing sources. There's also a scenario where no debt is necessary. We determine each development option's financial benefits depending on the property's goals and needs. Lastly, we recommend the next steps, provide an estimated timeline and address any special considerations.

Who conducts the RA? 

A: Several D3G subject matter experts within the Housing Preservation Services team have input within each analysis. Technical experts from the engineering and environmental teams provide their analysis findings and highlight potential issues. The consulting team puts all the pieces together with the financial and administrative components. If there is a specific recommendation, such as energy savings through utility updates, we can ask our in-house energy and sustainability experts to suggest best practices.

Leaders with the tools and knowledge to lead this change are powerful, especially when the stakes are high.

As a consulting team member, I use my experience as a PHA Executive Director who converted an entire Public Housing portfolio through RAD/Section 18 Blends to guide D3G's reports. I understand the seriousness of these choices and the apprehensions among the board, staff, and residents. My goal is to help PHA leadership better understand how their portfolio benefits from various repositioning options and what considerations they should be aware of that might be barriers or even major opportunities. Leaders with the tools and knowledge to lead this change are powerful, especially when the stakes are high, to ensure these housing opportunities are available for the next generations in need.

What are the benefits? 

A: Choosing to reposition is a big deal, so it is essential to know if it's possible before committing limited time and resources. Also, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to repositioning; therefore, understanding the nuances within each property or PHA operations helps inform the best next step, whether repositioning or not. We also allow a PHA to share their significant concerns, and D3G makes sure to tailor the report to address those concerns, such as how resident relocation will work or being conservative with debt.

I like to imagine these analyses are used by PHA leadership to inform the variety of stakeholders needed to achieve repositioning. That could be convincing a Board during a strategic planning process, or it's communicating to a potential co-development partner how the PHA wishes to approach repositioning and what assets it brings into a deal partnership. And speaking with property management and maintenance staff about possibilities to improve the sites using these outcomes could help explain how public housing can evolve.

Why should I consider hiring D3G?

A: D3G combines technical expertise with how repositioning impacts people and processes. And that expertise continues after the final repositioning analysis is issued. Our team can assist with the next steps, whether finding a co-development partner, digging deeper into capital needs assessment, or starting a Section 18 demolition and disposition application. Our team has been a part of hundreds of RAD and Section 18 projects, allowing us to use each experience to better the next project.

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