Jeanerette rated “zero” in federal review of its housing program, which is now set for takeover

Posted at 9:21 PM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 22:21:32-04

Jeanerette has failed to keep proper records for its public-housing program, and now either Lafayette or Iberia Parish are set to take it over, the city’s fiscal administrator revealed at Monday night’s aldermen meeting.

David Greer, who’s overseeing the state-mandated reworking of Jeanerette’s finances, said federal authorities rated the city’s public-housing program as a "zero."

"None of the HUD requirements have been met," Greer said.

Jeanerette receives funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the city’s Section 8 housing program.

Greer said HUD reviewed Jeanerette’s public-housing operation in November. In February, they issued a corrective action plan after finding Jeanerette doesn’t have basic information — like social-security numbers and proof-of-income — about the people receiving the federal benefits.

"We don’t even know if they’re eligible to receive housing payments," Greer said.

He also said requirements weren’t met for property owners involved in the program. There aren’t adequate records for things like lease agreements and inspections, he said.

Greer said he wants Jeanerette to voluntary relinquish the program before HUD cancels it. He said he’s been in contact with both the Iberia Parish and Lafayette housing authorities about taking over the program as soon as 2019.

Whichever authority can administer the program at the same rate it costs now would be the ideal fit, although he hopes to keep it in Iberia Parish, he said.

Jeanerette is under state-mandated fiscal administration. The city’s failed to complete an audit for three years in a row, and auditors found city officials failed to keep basic records of its spending.

Greer said during his monthly update on Monday that he’s still trying to piece together accounting records. He said he’s "still struggling" to find reliable figures.

The city’s financial year ends in July, and Greer said he hopes to have a budget passed by then. But he said he’s having a hard time determining what exactly the city spent during the current fiscal year — figures that are necessary to create a budget going forward.

"Everything in there is a pretty close guess," he said.