HUD No. 07-160
October 26, 2007
HUD OFFICIALS MEET WITH MIAMI-DADE HOUSING AGENCY, TAKE POSSESSION
Senior HUD staff answers staff questions, discusses overall goals for the agency
MIAMI - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Orlando J. Cabrera today met with management and staff of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency today as HUD prepares to run day-to-day operations at Miami-Dade's embattled housing agency.
"HUD's goal has been and will always be to protect MDHA's residents and the community," said Cabrera, who stood with Donald "DJ" Lavoy, the HUD-appointed oversight administrator charged with leading the agency, at the James L. Knight Convention Center in downtown Miami. "We are here today because we all have a stake in the success of this agency and we must work together to get this agency back on track to serve the people of Miami."
Last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it and Miami-Dade County had reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit the County filed to block HUD from taking control of the agency. This settlement allowed HUD to take possession of housing agency starting today. HUD and the County reached an agreement that would give HUD control over all MDHA's activities, including its public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs.
"I look forward to this opportunity to help the most vulnerable citizens of Miami-Dade County," said Lavoy. "I don't expect this will be an easy job, but I believe it will be a rewarding one. I want to reiterate what Mr. Cabrera has said often - taking over a housing agency is HUD's last resort, but sometimes the action is necessary."
HUD appointed Lavoy, a HUD senior advisor in the Office of Public and Indian Housing, to oversee MDHA's day-to-day operations. Lavoy has wide experience in assisting public housing authorities operate more efficiently, and previously headed HUD's Real Estate Assessment Center, which is responsible for reviewing all public housing authorities nationwide. He has also worked closely with housing authorities to assist them with their HOPE VI developments to ensure new mixed-income communities are completed in a timely manner.
Under the settlement agreement, HUD will return possession of MDHA to the County after the agency accomplishes specified tasks to improve operations at MDHA. Included in the principle tasks are:
- MDHA must ensure that its financial statements are accurate; and
- MDHA puts in place effective financial controls and management systems.
HUD announced in August it would take control of MDHA due to a pattern of financial irresponsibility and mismanagement of its Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) and public housing programs. Miami-Dade County filed a lawsuit challenging HUD's decision, which this settlement resolved.
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.