Aug. 22, 2003 – Sen. Emmett Hansen II said on Friday that he came away encouraged after a Thursday meeting with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department officials who are in the territory to implement the federal receivership of the V.I. Housing Authority.
"I was encouraged by their eagerness to come and speak to the residents of our housing communities," Hansen said in a release. "It says to me that they are willing to listen to what the residents have to say and to be fully accessible to them. It will go a long way in reassuring them that their way of life will not be adversely affected."
Hansen, who chairs the Senate Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee, said that Donna Ayala, HUD's designated receiver for VIHA, met with Housing Authority employees on St. Croix on Thursday and answered all questions they raised. "She indicated several times that she wishes to do the same with the residents of the VIHA communities," Hansen's release stated.
At his Thursday meeting with HUD personnel, Hansen said, they expressed the desire to be involved in tenant meetings in order to give residents first-hand information concerning the receivership.
Prior to Wednesday, when the federal takeover was implemented, Hansen had scheduled meetings with housing residents throughout the territory to discuss what they could expect if VIHA were to go into federal receivership. He held the first meeting on Aug. 15 at Ludvig Harrigan Court on St. Croix. Another had been scheduled for Friday at St. Croix's Alfonso "Piggy" Gerard community, and one had been announced for Paul M. Pearson Gardens on St. Thomas.
Because the takeover has come to pass, Hansen said on Friday, he is revising the schedule of meetings. "Although my role is that of oversight, I recognize that first-hand information is best," he said. "To that end, we are revising the schedule to maximize the effectiveness of having the residents present to hear what both my office and Mrs. Ayala's team are bringing to the table."
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