Gary Partners With HUD To Run Housing Authority
August 1, 2013 — The City of Gary has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that allows the federal agency to run the Gary Housing Authority.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s office says the move is, “an effort to restore public confidence and accountability to the Gary, Indiana Housing Authority (GHA) … to reverse years of financial mismanagement, improve physical conditions and increase occupancy rates.”
In Washington, D.C., HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez announced the receivership today, “HUD will stand with the City in addressing the shortcomings at the agency. We respect the mayor’s commitment to the city and its public housing residents to take this bold and courageous step.”
Henriquez and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson signed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to address administrative, financial and management concerns at the Gary housing agency, allowing HUD to help correct problems at GHA.
Freeman-Wilson says the mutual agreement with HUD is a resident-centered decision to improve the quality of life for GHA residents, “Upon a lengthy assessment of operations at GHA, we have determined that the existing problems are beyond the scope of our resources and federal assistance is required. This decision was made with the residents in mind, and I am appreciative of HUD’s partnership and look forward to this change resulting in the high quality of housing that Gary citizens deserve.”
Under the agreement, with a minimum partnership of two years, HUD will stabilize GHA operations, then address specific problems HUD identifies in a full review of the housing authority’s operations.
The City says, “This partnership with HUD will allow GHA to implement a new property management structure, modernize each of the housing developments and establish a well-defined business and operation plan, and adequate financial management systems.” The Mayor says that town hall meetings for GHA residents will occur next week and will be open to the public.
Henriquez says, “The challenges that plague the Gary Housing Authority did not occur overnight. Despite HUD and the city’s efforts over the years, the agency is not where it should be. This agreement is the beginning to the agency’s path to recovery.”
Henriquez named two HUD employees to assist GHA effective immediately. Willie Garrett was named executive director while Steven Meiss will serve as a one-person board of directors. Garrett is HUD’s Detroit Field Office Public Housing Director, assigned to work directly with GHA staff to manage day-to-day operations to ensure residents continue receiving services. Meiss is HUD’s Chicago Field Office Public Housing Director with more than 36 years of housing experience.
Interim GHA Executive Director Mary Cossey will remain at the agency to assist with the turnaround efforts.
Click link to see the City’s Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with HUD: