| HUD No. 06-050
May 3, 2006
NEW HANO RECOVERY TEAM ADDRESS RESIDENT CONCERNS
New management goals include regular meetings with resident leaders
NEW ORLEANS - The new federal recovery team at the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) addressed residents concerns at its first board meeting today. HANO Board of Commissioners C. Donald Babers and Executive Administrator William Thorson assured residents that HANO was working diligently to get more public housing units opened, but said they would not open additional units until they were safe to occupy.
"While some units may appear safe from the outside, they are not," said Babers. "Unit inspections show more than half of the units have mold, which is a health hazard. Safety is our top priority."
Babers told residents one of the team's goals is to communicate more frequently with resident councils so that all residents get a clear understanding of where HANO is and where its going in terms of opening units. As for redeveloping public housing developments that were severely damaged, Babers said this is not a decision HUD can make independently.
"HUD must work with state and local officials, as well as public and private entities that have a stake in the city's redevelopment," said Babers. "We plan to meet with the them to public housing redevelopment is included in the local plan."
Babers thanked former HANO managers Nadine Jarmon and Lori Moon for their tireless efforts in moving HANO forward pre and post-Katrina. Both Jarmon and Moon are advising the new team as they prepare to leave their post at end of this month.
HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera appointed Babers and Thorson mid-April to move HANO to the next phase of recovery after the massive destruction Hurricane Katrina caused the city's public housing. Babers and Thorson have more than 60 years of housing development experience combined and both have held long distinguished careers at HUD.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.