Member Associations React to COVID-19

Member Associations React to COVID-19

In March, I contacted each region and shared what cooperatives in the Potomac Association of Housing Cooperatives were doing to handle COVID-19 issues/concerns and asked the regional representatives to do the same. Below is the feedback I received.

Potomac Association of Housing Cooperatives

ANNE HILL: Some cooperatives in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area have implemented the following:

Closed the office to the public or with limited access to load laundry cards Sent COVID-19 Fact Sheet/Information to each member, as well as posted it in each building

  • Closed community rooms except for the food Share program but serving one member at a time
  • Increased disinfecting of common areas to twice a day making it mandatory that staff wears mask and gloves
  • Restricted repairs/work orders to emergencies only.

Cooperative Housing Association of New England

KIMALEE WILLIAMS, president of CHANE, located in East Hartford, Conn., said the following changes have occurred:

  • Closed all site offices to the public, permitting only the site manager and maintenance occupy that space. This arrangement required the office staff to set up drop boxes in outer lobbies and vestibules large enough for packets to fit (certification paperwork, applications, etc.). Staff also placed applications in those areas next to the drop box for pick up.
  • Closed community rooms. In order to ensure access to the laundry machines, vendors removed the token machines temporarily from the community rooms and into the laundry rooms or vestibules outside the community room or office.
  • Maintenance only performs emergency and health and safety repairs, and all other time is spent making ready vacant units. Increased cleaning of handrails, doorknobs, etc., in common areas by maintenance that provides comfort to the residents and also supports full-time pay for staff as it supplements their time lost not doing routine repairs.
  • Our resident service coordinators are providing limited access to the community room on days where Share or Meals on Wheels delivers so that residents can continue to eat. Drivers leave the food in a separate room and require the residents to go in one at a time to pick up the meal and immediately leave.
  • At this point our staff has does not have in-person contact with anyone, including vendors, unless absolutely essential.

Marcus Management, Inc. (Midwest)

KIM MARCUS, chief operating officer and regional property manager of Marcus Management, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., said when maintenance staff receives work order requests that they go through the following protocols before considering entering a member’s unit:

  • Is the work order an emergency? If not, then it should be recorded for future repairs. Have you travelled outside of state within last 60 days?
  • Have you had a temperature in last 30 days?
  • Have you had a cough, respiratory issue or other immune diagnosis in last 30 days?
  • If any responses are “yes,” report any illnesses to the office when submitting an emergency work order.
  • Management also provides staff that is required on property a letter of authority based on the functions they perform as an essential service.

Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums (The Federation)

GREG CARLSON, executive director of the Federation, said:

  • In New York State both residential building management and staff are deemed as an essential service. This requirement will vary from state to state and locality to locality.
  • We are working with the union to develop a plan to prevent more doormen from becoming ill. Ideas include installing a barrier so residents stay 6 feet apart, reducing the days the doormen work but increase the hours for those days and changing staff hours to nighttime to reduce contact with the residents.

This article was featured in CHQ fall 2020 issue. Click here to read the PDF newsletter.

Anne Hill is president of the Potomac Association of Housing Cooperatives

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