HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 05-101
Donna White
(202) 708-0685
For Release
July 28, 2005

Valenti departs after numerous accomplishments

WASHINGTON - Mirza Negron Morales, a HUD senior public housing manager, will serve as the new board of directors for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today. She will replace Carmen Valenti, who has been the HUD-appointed board since HUD took control of the agency in 2001.

"Mirza's experience and knowledge of housing authority management is the kind of leadership the recovery needs as HUD moves to the next phase of HANO's recovery effort," said Valenti, who introduced Negron at a HANO board meeting yesterday.

"Carmen has served the housing authority and the public housing residents of New Orleans well and we wish him the best," said Paula Blunt, HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary. "We are confident Mirza will keep things moving in a positive direction."

Negron, a 28-year HUD veteran, is currently Public Housing Director at HUD's New York Field Office. She monitors the administration of 33 public housing authorities (PHA) and 65 local housing agencies that receive approximately $2 billion in federal funds annually for more than 300,000 public housing units and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8). Her portfolio includes the New York City Housing Authority - the largest PHA in the country.

She has held numerous leadership positions within HUD including, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing, Acting Director for Troubled Agency Recovery, and Director of Program Support at the New York Regional Office.

In addition, she served as the board of directors for the Camden (N.J.) Housing Authority (CHA) from 1998 to June 2004 when it was removed from HUD's troubled housing authority list and returned to local control. During her tenure, CHA regained control of the its Housing Choice Voucher Program from the State of New Jersey. She also initiated homeownership opportunities for residents; received funding to start a Youth Build Program and graduated several hundred residents from an apprenticeship and educational programs. Through HUD's HOPE VI programs and mixed-finance deal, she created more affordable housing opportunities for Camden residents.

Valenti, who will end his 27-year career at HUD this fall, has been instrumental in HANO's overall transformation. Under Valenti's leadership, HANO established credibility with residents, city leaders, minority business suppliers, bankers, developers, and other stakeholders to make great strides in the past two years.

Under HUD's receivership, HOPE VI grants that languished for years have progressed. Redevelopment at Desire (The New Desire) and St. Thomas (River Garden) has resulted in the completion of more than 400 units. An additional 318 units are under construction at Desire and closings on 157 onsite and offsite housing units are expected before the end of August 2005 at St. Thomas.

Valenti and his team have numerous other accomplishments, including:

  • Increasing the agency's Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) utilization rate from 72% to 100%. This translated to an increase from 2001 to 2,500 additional vouchers for the agency. The HCVP has impacted the New Orleans affordable housing rental market with over $4.5 million a month in housing assistance payments
  • During the period of 2002 through 2004, HANO's Homeownership programs closed on 99 homes.
  • Leveraged $105.2 million in HOPE VI and Capital Fund Financing Program bond program funds with $132 million of other funding such as tax credits, AHP grants, city and state funding and TIF financing to create $237 million in mixed finance and mixed income projects to develop 1,094 units at five conventional sites by July 2006.;

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 as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and


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