DRACUT -- On Monday morning, when Pauline Conley found the sliding door at the rear of her Hanson Glen apartment had gone off its track, she phoned the Dracut Housing Authority office to report it. That afternoon, the DHA's maintenance foreman, Brian Martin, came by Conley's unit and got the door fixed.

"They're very good at taking care of these places. They really are," Conley said. "They take care of the apartments and grounds. We haven't had any problems. At least I haven't."

Conley was not surprised to learn the DHA aced its recent inspection, conducted by a HUD-certified contractor, who awarded the 80-unit senior apartment complex at 971 Mammoth Road a near-perfect score.

"I really like it here. It's wonderful," said Hanson Glen resident Jackie Cullum, 68. "The office and maintenance people are great. Any problems, they always address them immediately. So I don't have anything bad to say at all."

Neither could a HUD-certified contractor find any fault with Hanson Glen, apparently.

According to HUD's official "inspection summary report," during a four-hour site visit in September, the inspector chose to enter and examine about 20 of the 80 apartments. The inspector also took notes on the exterior of the buildings, building systems, parking lot and grounds, and common meeting room/laundry/kitchen facilities building.

While the DHA knew that a HUD inspection was scheduled, they were not informed of exactly which 20 out of the 80 units would be inspected, said DHA Executive Director Mary Karabatsos.

Technically, Karabatsos said Hanson Glen scored "99.94 points" out of a possible 100, the only deduction coming from a minor door-screen problem that was quickly addressed.

"We were very happy with it," said Karabatsos of the high inspection score. "It's positive news that we wanted to share."

A passing or "standard" score for a housing authority is between 60 and 89, with scores from 90 to 100 labeled as "high performers," according to HUD officials. Inspection scores at Hanson Glen in previous years had registered in the low 90s, DHA records show.

Russell Taylor, chairman of the DHA's Board of Commissioners, credited the high marks to a total team effort. He cited the collaboration between commissioners, Karabatsos and her staff, including Assistant Director Linda Cote, secretary Kelly Szymanski, Martin, and maintenance workers Mark Ivos and Roger Gagne.

"Mary and her whole crew out there worked very hard to get that 100 percent score, the highest possible performance rating that very few medium-sized housing authorities throughout the country ever get," said Taylor. "We were very pleased and proud with it."

The DHA oversees 221 public housing units and 68 Section 8 housing-choice vouchers units in various town locations.

Taylor said the key to the improved performance is the staff's commitment to staying on top of residents' complaints about leaky faucets, faulty doors, and other so-called "minor" issues.

"That was something that we commissioners found was of greater importance by talking to a lot of people," he said. "In the big scheme of things, a leaky faucet or window that is not closing right might not sound like a big thing, but when you are older and the problem is in the apartment you live in, and you're waiting to get it fixed, then it becomes a big deal."

The commission's meetings include a monthly report from Karabatsos listing residents' complaints and the DHA's response time in resolving the issue.

Taylor praised Karabatsos' work.

"She has done a spectacular job. She is a very talented woman in her position," said Taylor.

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