HUD No. 08-066
May 13, 2008
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SELECTED TO HEAD THE VIRGIN ISLANDS HOUSING AUTHORITY
HUD recovery efforts moves agency closer to local control
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has selected Robert Graham, a certified property manager (CPM) with public housing experience, as the new executive director of the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA). Graham, whose appointment is effective today, will work closely with J. David Reeves, who will continue as the HUD-appointed board chairman.
"When HUD took control of this housing authority five years ago, there were problems across the board," said HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary Paula Blunt, who heads up the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "I am pleased to say the HUD recovery teams have turned operations around in extraordinary ways that makes this step possible."
Reeves, who has led VIHA over the past year, added, "Mr. Graham is no stranger to VIHA. In 2006, he consulted the HUD recovery team on housing management so he is very familiar with VIHA's challenges, which gives him the necessary knowledge to hit the ground running."
An expert in working with large troubled housing authorities, Graham will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and working with Reeves to institute permanent systems in preparation to return VIHA to local control. He will also represent VIHA in the community, conferring with Reeves on policy, plans and fiscal matters, and conducting strategic planning, including the formulation of short and long term goals.
Graham is currently based in South Orange, N.J. and brings 25 years of experience in the field of public housing and asset management to this position. He is currently serving as a principal of APM Property Management, Development and Consulting Services, where he consults public housing authorities (PHAs) and redevelopment agencies. Prior to this, Graham worked his way up from coordinator of monitoring and evaluation to executive director of the Newark (N.J.) Housing Authority from 1990 to 2002.
Graham holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management from Baruch College in City University, New York and a MBA from New York University. Graham has had remarkable success stabilizing and realigning troubled large public housing agencies. Graham is on the faculty of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), where he teaches property management and ethics.
HUD assumed control of VIHA in 2003 after a history of failing to submit balanced budgets, violations of HUD's financial reporting requirements, and general deterioration of operations and physical condition of the public housing, including many health and safety violations.
HUD recovery teams have resolved VIHA's numerous financial and management deficiencies, which has led to improved conditions of the public housing stock on both St. Thomas and St. Croix. Reeves, who was appointed recovery administrator and board chairman in June 2007, has continued to correct long-term vacancies and abating asbestos in 74 units on St. Thomas. He is also planning the rehabilitation of 75 units on St. Croix. In addition to the improvements to VIHA's public housing program, VIHA is seeing progress in its Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program. Last month VIHA issued 175 new vouchers to families on its waiting list.
###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. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.