May 18, 2005 – With a dark, hard sky overhead on Wednesday afternoon, a drive through Williams Delight Housing Community could be depressing.
All the 286 homes are small. Most are painted a dismal yellow that brings to mind food gone bad.
The yards are small. Each is set off from the other with high chain link fences, indicating security is a high concern in this neighborhood.
Yet, sprinkled amongst the rundown homes and the abandoned houses are some bright spots. Some yards are landscaped with blooming flowers. The houses sport fresh paint. No clutter is laying about.
One would assume that those are among the 14 homes that are owned by residents. Housing authorities across the United States and the Caribbean have found the best ways for housing projects to succeed is to give ownership over to residents.
That process at William's has come under criticism.
A press release from Sens. Celestino A. White, Sr., Usie Raymond Richards, Norman Jn. Baptiste and Terrence "Positive" Nelson said the effort by HUD Receiver for the Virgin Islands Housing Authority "to expedite the sale of the homes to residents of Williams Delight" has proceeded at a snail's pace.
The senators write that many of the residents are eager to buy the homes and have circulated petitions to get the government's attention, but with little success.
So the senators have arranged a meeting with Jose Bosque-Perez, HUD Receiver for the V.I. housing authority. The meeting is set for May 25 at 5:30 pm at the Community Center in Williams Delight.
Joseph David, a resident of William's Delight since 1977, said he plans to attend the meeting.
He said Wednesday that the government has made many promises, and he no longer thinks anything will happen.
He said by rights a paper he signed in 1977 said the house would be his after living in it so many years, but now the government wants $10,000 more.
His wife, who would only identify herself as Mrs David, said no, they wanted $37,000.
David said he no longer has a copy of that agreement, but he said his neighbors have copies of similar agreements.
Although, he doesn't own the house he lives in, he is not sure who does. As the interview ended he asked, "Can you tell me one thing. Who really owns these houses."
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