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CHA’s outstanding work in Section 3 program prompts HUD to waive final year of compliance agreement

2/7/2018, noon | Updated on 2/7/2018, noon

CHA began tracking Section 3 internal hires in January 2014 after HUD approval of the CHA’s Section 3 Hiring Policy. Since January 2014, 40 percent of CHA’s internal hires have been Section 3 residents.

To date, CHA has issued more than $1 million in need-based grants of up to $5,000 and competitive grants up to $20,000 which have enabled several Section 3 residents to start their own businesses including retail, food services and others.

As part of its commitment to Section 3, CHA began using the Job Order Contracting (JOC) Program in 2016 which has helped more than 100 Section 3 business owners perform as prime contractors and gain experience through smaller-scale maintenance projects in eight categories (general construction, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, interior improvement, fire suppression/life safety, environmental remediation and landscaping). To date, over 900 contracts valued at over $50 million have been approved and many contractors have been able to build capacity and move up to higher-valued contracting tiers, enabling them to increase their experience and grow their businesses.

In 2015, Omari Stamps, owner of Marsolino’s Carpentry, applied for the JOC program that encourages established businesses to mentor start-up businesses owned by low-income residents and help them on their road to self-sustainability.

Since then, Stamps, a native of the South Shore neighborhood, has been working with Gordian Group at CHA’s Dearborn Homes, doing whatever needs to be done: rebuilding and rehabilitating units, cleaning painting and polishing.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity at this point in my life,” Stamps said.

The Section 3 JOC Program has six tiers for contractors with projects valued at between $2,500 to $250,000. The program is supported by two lines of credit that enable Section 3 businesses to meet their payroll, purchase equipment and supplies, and cover other business expenses, an essential part of supporting small businesses and helping them build capacity.