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Thursday, July 7, 2022


The three agencies that deal with housing in the Virgin Islands should be merged, Sen. George Goodwin said after a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Goodwin, chair of the Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee, convened the hearing to address the status of housing here.
Heads of the three agencies attended. Ira Hobson, acting commissioner of Housing, Parks and Recreation; Conrad Francois, head of V.I. Housing Authority; and Claude Richards Jr., director of V.I. Housing Finance Authority, addressed issues ranging from the state of public housing in the Virgin Islands to homeownership, according to the Independent.
Francois reported that the Housing Authority is now executing a five-year strategic plan to address many housing issues, including improved communications, work force development and a safer environment.
Francois said two of the public housing communities, Tutu Hi-Rise and Estate Donoe apartments, have had no permanent hurricane damage repairs; no funding is available.
The authority is preparing a grant application to the 1999 HOPE V.I. program to raze the Donoe project to make way for new buildings.
Tutu Hi-Rise is the other community suffering from lack of funding, and Francois said VIHA has requested funds to bring the community back to pre-hurricane condition.
Francois said he wasn't sure a merger of the housing agencies was feasible because of the variety of laws governing the three entities. He did say the merger might save money.

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