HUD No. 08-101a
July 9, 2008
SARASOTA HOUSING AUTHORITY RETURNED TO LOCAL CONTROL AFTER THREE YEARS UNDER FEDERAL RECEIVERSHIP
SARASOTA, FL - After three years under federal receivership, the Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) was officially returned to local control today in a ceremony at City Hall with HUD officials and Mayor Lou Ann Palmer.
"This day has come because HUD receivership teams have worked hard to get this housing authority in a position to provide quality, affordable housing to the citizens of Sarasota." said Paula Blunt, HUD's General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "HUD is pleased with the agency's progress over the past three years under new leadership to improve day-to-day operations."
In a ceremony at the Sarasota City Hall today, William Shen, HUD's Director of Receivership Oversight, presented the newly appointed Chairman of the SHA Board of Commissioners with a letter releasing the agency from federal control. Joining Shen and Mayor Palmer was Justin Ormsby, who heads HUD's receivership team at SHA; SHA Executive Director William Russell; members of the Sarasota City Board of Commissioners; and the SHA Board of Commissioners.
Last year, the HUD receivership team recommended that Mayor Palmer nominate candidates for an advisory board to assist with the operations and activities of the housing authority. This was the first step in preparing a housing authority for return local control. Last month, the Sarasota Board of Commissioners confirmed the advisory board as the new SHA Board of Commissioners.
HUD took over SHA in April 2005 citing massive mismanagement and financial insolvency. These operational problems led to the deterioration of Sarasota public housing stock. HUD made improving conditions of the public housing a top priority. Working closely with the new management, HUD's receivership team, then headed by HUD-veteran Carmen Valenti, now retired, corrected SHA's financial and management deficiencies and addressed the poor housing conditions. HUD made structural improvements to all of SHA's public housing, including adding new roofs, updating bathrooms, and painting buildings and units. Hand rails were installed at residential entrances with three or more steps and an inventory storeroom was converted into a certified child care facility.
SHA's operations were streamlined to make unit repairs quickly to get apartments on-line faster, as well as provided SHA staff extensive training. The team also rehabilitated and filled long-term vacant apartments.
With the combination of local and federal funds, SHA has begun the redevelopment of Sarasota's four family public housing sites - Janie Poe, Orange Avenue, The Courts and Bertha Mitchell - into mixed-income communities, which will include public housing units, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units, and market rate units.
SHA's most recent achievement was the May groundbreaking at Janie Poe for the comprehensive redevelopment of this affordable housing community. When completed there will be a total of 86 new homes, including 26 public housing units, 40 affordable units that will serve low-income families, and 20 market-rate rental homes.
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.