Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z 

HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-86
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Tuesday,
Or contact your local HUD officeMay 28, 1997


WASHINGTON -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented an award to Richard C. Gentry, executive director of the Richmond (Va.) Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) for his efforts in support of HUD's Office of Inspector General's Witness Relocation Program.

Under the program, which began in 1994, public housing authorities can use Section 8 vouchers to move residents, and their families, who have witnessed violent crimes and other illegal activity to new areas where they will be safe while waiting to testify for a federal or state law enforcement agency. In cases where a housing authority does not have enough resources to relocate a resident, RRHA will provide the voucher.

"Compassion alone is not enough," said Cuomo. "To make this program work we needed someone committed to safe public housing to step up and fill the gap when housing authorities lacked sufficient resources. Rick Gentry is that person. He embodies the perfect combination of competence and compassion, courage and creativity."

Susan Gaffney, HUD Inspector General, said: "Rick Gentry was contacted because of his well-known commitment to safe housing, his knowledge of public housing programs and his discretion. Every successful action he makes possible is a blow against drugs, guns, and other forms of organized violence at public housing communities."

Since the program began, more than 322 families have been relocated. In addition, witnesses in the program helped make possible the arrests of 120 individuals at the Boston's Mission Hill Public Housing complex, 20 gang members at the Kelly Miller Apartment Complex in Washington, D.C., and 14 gang members in Atlanta's John Hope Public Housing Development.

Similar to relocation programs run by the U.S. Marshal's Service, HUD's program focuses on the successful relocation of witnesses, but does not provide protection services for threatened witnesses. HUD's relocation program provides temporary arrangements until either the U.S. Marshal's Service program takes control of the witness, other arrangements are made with the prosecutor's office, or until prosecutive efforts have been completed.

Cooperating housing authorities process the required paperwork on each family and HUD-OIG coordinates among numerous HUD area offices, federal law enforcement agencies and local housing authorities to facilitate the process.

Gentry began his career at HUD in 1972, and subsequently has been involved in management at a number of public housing authorities, including Greensboro, N.C., and Austin, Texas, before going to Richmond in 1990. He has testified before Congress as a housing expert and is involved in various community and professional associations, including the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Public Housing Directors' Association, and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities.

A major benefit of HUD's witness relocation program is its speed and cost effectiveness. The U.S. Marshal's Witness Protection Program costs the government about $100,000 per action. HUD's relocation program is dramatically less expensive, and can accommodate a witness in a few days.

"For almost three years now we've been able to provide this essential service thanks to the many public housing executive directors like Rick Gentry and their staffs," said Cuomo. "The Devils' Disciples, Latin Kings, and Miami Boys weren't happy about it, but the effort has enabled this Department to make great strides in making public housing developments safe for the thousands of families who live there."

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

FOIA Privacy Web Policies and Important Links [logo: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity]
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455