February 2021
The Work Continues
With the Pandemic...
Only three Heron Estates Senior residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, and none since July. Yet, already, 60 residents have received vaccine shots against the pandemic, thanks to the Palm Beach County (PBC) Health Department, which provided them, and Fire Rescue officials from both PBC and the City of Riviera Beach, who, together, administered them. Those first shots arrived on January 15 and the second ones came February 11. The shots were delivered onsite, in the lobby of the Seniors tower, and that's where all the action took place. 
Seniors Get Second Vaccine Shot
Yes. Forty of them. On Thursday, there was another vaccine distribution at Heron Estates Senior, thanks to the County Health Department, the City and County's Fire Rescue teams and our co-development partner, Housing Trust Group (HTG). Why HTG? Because their team, led by Property Manager Tony Poland, makes it happen. And people notice. "I have been so pleased with what they do here to help the residents," said J. Jerome Taylor, a former RBHA Board president who, now, lives at Heron Estates Senior. "You can never ask for too much. They do a really good job." He should know: Mr. Taylor was also there for his second shot. As were 39 others.
...And With Heron Estates Family
Job Fair Results
The Board has been pushing to ensure more local skilled tradespeople and subcontractors get more of the work of Heron Estates Family, which is why a Job Fair was held last month. There were nearly 20 attendees, including seven Section 3 subcontractors and eight attendees from two local trade schools. And it happened: Tower Electric of Riviera Beach is now on the team. The company is owned by Anthony Williams, shown at right talking to our construction consultant, Raymond Wells, who led the event. Tower will work with Brown Electrical Solutions, an RBHA Section 3 minority-owned firm based in Riviera Beach, which is the general electrical contractor for Heron Estates Family. Brown Electrical will handle all electrical work--with the help of Tower. "It was a success," Mr. Wells said of the job fair, "if only because we had all the right people in the room: Section 3 contractors and skilled workers. That's what the Board wanted. Well, that's what HUD wants as well. " What is Section 3? Click here to learn more.
For Heron Estates Senior Residents
News, Events and Useful Information from the City of Riviera Beach
Free Food

Ever since the start of the pandemic, the City has partnered with Feeding South Florida to ensure residents who need food, get food. And, it continues: from 9 to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month, drive over to Wells Recreation Center across from City Hall. There, free fruits, vegetables and, sometimes, meats will be placed in car trunks. The drive-through distribution is open to all Palm Beach County residents. Including those who live in Riviera Beach at Heron Estates Senior! For more information, call 561-840-0135 or send an email here.
Free Testing

The City is continuing its partnership with West Palm Beach-based United Clinical Laboratory to ensure that every resident without health insurance gets coronavirus testing without charge. That's every resident in Palm Beach County. The tests take place all day Mondays and Wednesdays and on Fridays, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the City's hot community care spot, Wells Recreation Center across from City Hall. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the testing now takes place at JAY Ministries, where Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie L. Felder is the CEO. For more information, call 561-840-0135 or send an email here.
Public Housing in Palm Beach County
By Laurel Robinson, recently retired executive director of the West Palm Beach Housing Authority
Palm Beach County is home to seven public housing authorities: Palm Beach County Housing Authority, Riviera Beach Housing Authority, West Palm Beach Housing Authority, Delray Beach Housing Authority, Boca Raton Housing Authority and Pahokee Housing Authority. The seventh, Belle Glade Housing Authority is regulated and funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, not the U. S. Department of HUD, as are the other six. Collectively, 2,179 units of publicly supported housing exist in the county; at an average occupancy of 3 persons each, 6,537 call public housing home. The Housing Choice Voucher program (familiarly known as Section 8) has approximately 7,000 vouchers under lease. Using the same metric, 21,000 persons are so housed. Together, approximately 27,537 persons are receiving housing assistance from the federal programs in Palm Beach County. Waiting lists to receive these benefits are years long, with thousands of eligible persons waiting for the chance to pay no more than 30% of gross income for housing costs.
Authorized under Florida State Statute 421, housing authorities can play a unique role in solving the housing issues we face today. PHA’s are not a department of municipal, county or state government, but rather function with an independence embedded in the Federal Housing Act of 1937. PHA’s can buy, sell, own, rent, develop, demolish, mortgage and rehabilitate properties for themselves and others, as well as assume partnership positions in new development.
Housing Authorities also engage in programs to promote self-sufficiency, home ownership and education. Partnerships with the School District and municipal and county government also provide an array of opportunities for economic and healthy lifestyle choices.
For the past several years, local housing authorities have recognized that the steep drop in Congressional appropriations will not only continue, but may reach such a low level that these programs will no longer be sustainable. In response, many PHA’s have taken on the role of affordable housing developers. While never abandoning the mission to house Extremely Low Income persons and families (many in public housing have annual incomes of $10,000 to $20,000 per year) PHA’s are now seeking diverse sources of income streams and funding. In addition, lessons learned from the past have led to primarily mixed income developments, public private partnerships and participation in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs, administered by the State of Florida. As a governmental entity, the Memorandum Of Understanding with other similarly organized entities is a particularly useful tool in putting housing production on a “fast track” under the right conditions.
Public Housing Authorities must not be mischaracterized as “the housing of last resort.” PHA’s can, and do, play a new and exciting role in solving a broad spectrum of housing needs in Palm Beach County today.
About the RBHA
Board of Commissioners