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Housing Authority of New Iberia may shut down

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 19:47:44-04

The Housing Authority of New Iberia (HANI) is at risk of shutting down. City leaders say the agency is struggling with finances, operation, and comply with HUD regulations. The issues are affecting about 100 tenants.

Officials with the housing authority claim HUD is trying to get rid of all of the low-income homes in New Iberia. In a statement to KATC HUD says they are not evicting anyone and that health and safety or residents are a top priority.

“The health and safety of the residents is HUD’s major concern and priority.  We have been actively working with the Housing Authority and the mayor to resolve the issues regarding the substandard housing conditions at housing authority properties and they are actively working with us.    HUD has asked the Housing Authority to prepare an Action Plan that is due the end of July that would outline how they would correct the deficiencies.  We suggested they do a  physical needs assessment of all their properties as the starting point for the Plan.

HUD is not holding up the Housing Authority’s funds. The Housing Authority currently has the ability to spend funds at any time.  To do that, they submit a request to the HUD New Orleans Public Housing Office and provide documentation that shows that the funds are for allowable expenses.   We will then release the funds.  If it’s a legitimate expense, there should be no issue.

Finally, HUD is not evicting any residents.  We are working with the Housing Authority and the mayor on a plan that will provide residents with housing that meets HUD’s health and safety standards.  Ultimately, it is up to the City and the Housing Authority to determine what steps they will take to reach that goal.  HUD wants to support those efforts for the benefit of all parties.“

Regeina Henry has been living in Markham Homes for seven years. Henry was among those in attendance at a meeting today to discuss the possible future of HANI.

“One is saying they didn’t do this. One is saying they did this. We don’t know nothing, and all we ask for is communication,” said Henry.

“The mayor is trying to back them off and stall them, but as of right now, HUD wants them out,” said HANI board member Bishop Darren Sophus.

“Nobody wants to be moved or replaced. I have places to go, but we are comfortable!” exclaimed Henry.

Sophus says at least 100 tenants will be displaced.

“It’ll affect three areas: Cedar Hills Circle, Simon off of Anderson street, and Markham Homes on Bayard. And, Markham Homes is mostly elderly, so we;ll be putting our elderly out.”

HANI claims the issue is HUD saying the houses are not livable.

“One solution: HUD needs to release the money, so we can repair, number one. Number two: give us opportunity to comply with them for those requirements they are laying out,” said Sophus.

According to him, HUD is wanting to condemn the properties instead of repair them.

HANI is continuing to work with HUD for more solutions. We are currently waiting on a response from the HUD office in New Orleans.

For more information, visit the The Daily Iberian.