HUD No. 08-048
April 4, 2008
FLORIDA HOUSING AUTHORITY RETURNED TO LOCAL CONTROL AFTER FOUR YEARS UNDER FEDERAL RECEIVERSHIP
WASHINGTON - Following four years under federal control, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) retuned the Riviera Beach (Fla.) Housing Authority (RBHA) to local governance earlier this week. Anthony Britto, HUD-appointed Director of Recovery Operations and Victor Rocher, Acting Director of Public Housing of the HUD Miami Field Office, joined Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters and RBHA Executive Director Philip Goombs on Monday, March 31st at City Hall to hand over the housing authority to the city.
"Four years ago, HUD began the process to improve this agency so it would become a source of pride for Riviera Beach residents," said Paula Blunt, HUD's General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "HUD is proud to return the RBHA to Mayor Masters as we celebrate an agency that's now providing timely services and offering quality housing to the residents."
Since June of 2004, the HUD receivership team, headed by Karen Cato-Turner, currently the Executive Administrator for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), has effectively turned around overall operations at RBHA. Specifically, the team resolved serious management deficiencies that plagued the housing authority's financial and physical condition.
Major accomplishments include:
- Stabilized and transferred administration of RBHA's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to the West Palm Beach Housing Authority in September 2006.
- Recommended and gained HUD approval to demolish 106 hurricane-damaged family public housing units. Demolition of the condemned units commenced March 2007. Collaborated with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and selected Pinnacle Housing Group to redevelop the site.
- Established an effective partnership with local elected officials to appoint a professional board to oversee RBHA activities. In March 2007, the City Council ratified the nominations Mayor Masters put forth.
- In November 2006, the recovery team selected Phillip Goombs as the executive director. Goombs came to the agency with more than 20 years of public housing finance, management, Section 8 and development experience.
RBHA was first notified of its financial problems in August 2001. RBHA failed to keep accurate financial records and to maintain a system of internal controls. Additionally, RBHA had failed to implement a cost allocation system and as a result, had further contributed to the poor financial condition of its public housing and voucher programs.
Despite the efforts of HUD's Miami Field Office, the agency's performance continued its downward spiral and was declared a troubled housing authority February 2002. This led HUD to declare the housing authority in default and assumed full control in June 2004.
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 espanol.hud.gov.