HUD No. 06-104
August 29, 2006
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS LEGISLATURE GIVES OK TO $1.1 MILLION TO IMPROVE WATER INFRASTRUCTURE AT WILLIAMS DELIGHT COMMUNITY
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Virgin Islands Legislature recently approved $1.1 million in funding that will be used to improve water infrastructure at the Williams Delight community on St. Croix, a Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) property.
"The planned infrastructure improvements are an integral part of the HUD receivership's overall effort to better conditions in this community," said HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera. "We applaud the Virgin Islands Legislature for its swift, unanimous approval."
The funds will be utilized to replace the deteriorating water lines and install separate water meters at each home in the community. This work will allow for regular water service without interruption. Residents in this community have endured water interruption due to the severe deterioration of the underground piping.
The 14 senators at a Legislative session last week unanimously supported the bill that includes a special earmark to be paid directly to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) for the purpose of fixing the continuous water problems at Williams Delight. Work will begin at the 300-unit Williams Delight community upon WAPA's approval of a full access and easement agreement with VIHA.
"I want to commend all the Senators for their support and alliance with our efforts to improve the living conditions of our Williams Delight residents," said Michael R. Hollis, the HUD-appointed executive administrator at VIHA. "We look forward to working with WAPA's leadership and hope WAPA will put this initiative on the front burner so we can expedite consistent water service to residents in this community."
Hollis also gave special recognition to Senator Juan Figueroa-Serville and U.S. Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen for their outreach and assistance in getting this funding approval.
When HUD took over VIHA in 2003, problems ranged from crucial health and safety violations in poorly kept public housing units to serious financial deficiencies that left VIHA operating under an approximately $3.5 million budget deficit. There were more than 800 vacant units with many needing extensive repair. Since that time, HUD management teams secured $1.7 million in HUD funding to demolish aged units at the Louis E. Brown Villas and negotiated a repayment agreement with WAPA that satisfied a $4.16 million VIHA debt to the utility company.
HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) is responsible for managing and administering a range of programs, including the two largest federal rental assistance programs - public housing and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8. Combined the programs serve more than 3.2 million low-income families in the U.S. PIH also monitors the operations of the nation's approximately 3,400 public housing authorities that manage the country's more than 1.2 million public housing units and administer other HUD programs. PIH also manages the Office of Native American Programs, which is responsible for the implementation and administration of all HUD programs that are specific to Native Americans housing and economic development. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.