HUD No. 07-078
June 4, 2007
HUD APPOINTS PUBLIC HOUSING EXPERT TO HEAD VIRGIN ISLANDS HOUSING AUTHORITY
Long-time HUD employee to begin transition VIHA to local control
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera has appointed J. David Reeves, a HUD public housing expert, to lead the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA). Reeves replaces Michael Hollis as the Executive Administrator who led the agency for the past 16 months.
"Mr. Reeves brings strong public housing recovery experience that will further HUD's efforts to return the housing authority to local control," said Cabrera. "Mr. Hollis helped HUD turn the corner at VIHA and Mr. Reeves, a career HUD employee, will maintain that momentum as we continue to engage in productive VIHA discussions with Governor DeJongh."
Reeves, who will be based in St. Thomas, begins his official duties today. He will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and working with the receivership team to institute permanent systems to prepare VIHA for local control. Carmen Valenti will continue overseeing operations as the VIHA Board Chair.
Cabrera said that Mr. Hollis has served VIHA residents well and that, "VIHA is on the right route back to institutional health. We are at a place where we need HUD at the helm on the ground to give the federal agency the flexibility it needs so that we can create the path to get VIHA back to local control," Cabrera continued.
Reeves has more than 20 years of public housing management experience. He is currently a Senior Advisor and Acting Director of the Coordination and Compliance Division for the Office of Field Operations at HUD's Washington, D.C. Headquarters. Prior to this assignment, Reeves served as Director of HUD's District of Columbia Field Office from 2003 to 2006, where he managed a staff of 70. He began his HUD career in 1985 as a Presidential Management Intern and quickly moved to hold management positions - including Acting Director of HUD's Los Angeles Field Office and its Office of Public Housing, where he managed a staff of 250.
During his tenure at HUD, Reeves worked directly with troubled housing agencies. For example, as a public housing recovery specialist, Reeves worked with recovery teams to develop and implement the
successful recovery of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Allegheny (Pa.) Housing Authority. He is currently a key member of the recovery team assisting the Newark (N.J.) Housing Authority.
Cabrera said during Hollis' tenure the receivership team tackled some of the long-standing problems that faced VIHA and its properties, including improving financial accountability and transparency, an aggressive abandoned car eradication program, rehabbing approximately 300 public housing units and improving playgrounds at each community. To rid communities of pests, the team instituted an agency-wide pest control program that included exterminations in every unit.
HUD assumed control of VIHA in 2003 after declaring the housing authority in substantial default of its obligation to maintain complete and accurate financial records. In less than a year, HUD receivership teams have resolved VIHA's numerous financial deficiencies, including submitting a balanced budget in consecutive years - something that had been accomplished under local management for a long time. In addition, recovery teams have also filled many vacant units: there were 822 vacant units with more than 500 that needed extensive repair; more than 500 units of those units are now occupied. VIHA, under HUD control, was also successful at securing two HUD HOPE VI Demolition grants, totaling $1.7 million. The grants were used to demolish the aged Louis E. Brown Villas.
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 (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 administers other HUD programs. PIH also manages the Office of Native American Programs, which is responsible for the implementation and administration of programs specific to Native American housing and economic development. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.