This recent visit to the Portsmouth Housing Authority was closer to home for me. Not every city or town has a Housing Authority and am glad our host brought us all the way to Portsmouth to meet the good folks working there.
The Portsmouth Housing Authority oversees the provision of public housing to lower income vulnerable residents. This is done in two ways; 1) by renting out housing units it owns (either apartments or houses), or 2) providing rent vouchers to beneficiaries. The first approach is very similar to what we have back in Singapore, where the Housing Development Board (HDB) provides rental housing for lower income Singaporeans. The most visible difference is that in land scarce Singapore, all rental units are in high rise buildings. It was interesting to see public housing in the form of houses, similar to holiday chalets back home!
The Portsmouth Housing Authority see themselves as landlords, but they do a lot more than that. This includes settling disputes between neighbours and having to deal with residents with various vulnerabilities. Various programmes, resources and non-profits are also brought in to serve the needs of their tenants.
There are many similarities between the Housing Authority’s work and how social services back home function. I picked up some good pointers that could be useful and applicable back in Singapore.
It’s our last week in Hooksett/ New Hampshire! hope to get as much out of our last few days here as possible.