Mar 29, 2011 11:32 PM by Shawn Kline

HUD takes over Housing Authority

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken over the Lafayette Housing Authority but why now?
The answer isn't really clear; many say the decision should have been made weeks or even months ago.

"I think it probably should've been made a while back," former Chairman Shirley Vige said.

Vige says the decision to dissolve the housing authority's board of commissioners came at an odd time. For exmple, let's flashback to a meeting last week:

"You will start seeing more positive things coming out of this housing authority," HUD's Dan Rodriguez said on March 21st.

HUD officials told KATC, (at the time) it saw the housing authority moving in the right direction for the first time since a controversial audit was released last summer.

Back to Tuesday afternoon:

"The new board is a well-balanced energetic-type board and we seemed to work well together and made some good decisions," Vige said. "It's unfortunate but it happens."

The decision to place the housing authority under receivership comes after a district judge put a hearing on hold. The hearing is the latest of a legal battle involving three housing authority commissioners removed by City-Parish President Joey Durel.
A court-issued stay effectively reinstated the commissioners until the hearing was complete.

"The cost to this government!" Durel says, "fighting three volunteer board members that were doing nothing to help the housing authority residents, I think (HUD) decided in the end this was the tool they would use- it was the best option to utilize to move things forward."

HUD officials say they want to return the housing authority back to local control but there's no timetable as to when this receivership will end.



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