CHESTER HOUSING AUTHORITY

ISSUE

Because of the decades-old sins of past leaders, the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) had been under federal court receivership since 1994. But in recent years, leadership at the CHA had worked diligently to transform the agency into an efficient, well-performing organization.

The CHA hired Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy in 2014 to help toward its goal of coming out of receivership. Our task was to create a campaign to show the public – as well as local political leaders – the Authority deserved the opportunity to govern itself.

 

STRATEGY

The Ceisler Media team blanketed the area and, not surprisingly, discovered a range of positive stories about the clients, employees and leaders of the CHA. We worked with local media to get those stories on the air and into the papers.


For example, one early 2014 story in the Delaware County Times, with the headline “New era has dawned for Chester Housing Authority,” helped set the positive tone for further coverage to come. 


Another centered on a two-acre urban farm started on a previously barren patch of land by the CHA for the benefit of residents. Children and adults are provided the opportunity to learn the art of farming. And healthy produce harvested at the Bennett Community Farm from it is sold at Chester City’s lone supermarket. 


Recently, the CHA held a farm-to-table fundraiser, in which military veterans worked with local children to produce gourmet meals from the farm’s crops. Ceisler Media was able to help garner print and broadcast coverage for the excellent event.


We also helped the CHA’s executive director gain a higher profile by working with him to produce op-eds for local papers – and we assisted him on damage control in those rare instances when negative news arose.


We established a Facebook page to show positive stories to and about the 2,400 residents on issues ranging from financial responsibility to CHA-backed health and wellness programs.


In addition, Ceisler Media produced an annual report for the CHA that was distributed to all local officials and stakeholders. The report helped show off the agency’s excellent work and made the case that it deserved to be released from court receivership and allowed to move forward autonomously.

RESULT

The CHA received more positive media attention than it had over several previous decades. Public awareness – as well as awareness from public officials –grew over the agency’s positive work.


At the beginning of 2015, a district judge ended the two-decades long court receivership of the CHA, praising the authority for “providing decent, safe and sanitary dwellings to families of low income.”


The same highly qualified management team that got the CHA out of receivership remains in place today. And Ceisler Media continues to represent the agency in spreading the news to reflect its continued outstanding service to residents.

 

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