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DeJongh Calls for Return of Local Control to the V.I. Housing Authority

John deJongh calls for return of local control to the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and
believes that working together local community can do a better job
April 5, 2006, St.Thomas, U.S.V.I. — John deJongh today called upon local officials to join him in the effort to demand and bring the immediate return of the Virgin Islands Housing Authority back to local control.
DeJongh said that he based his decision on his visits to many of the Virgin Islands public housing projects: "As I have gone from neighborhood to neighborhood and I have visited and talked with the residents of our many public housing communities, it has become clear to me that the current Federal management of our public housing facilities needs to be changed for the sake of our residents and their families. The Federal management for these facilities has failed and as bad as things may have been in the past, they are now worse than ever.""
deJongh also believes that by working together and creating a local team of competent and caring professionals to run the VI Housing Authority more can be accomplished on behalf of its many families: ""It is time for us learn from the history of past mistakes and put in place a local team of people who will work on behalf of their fellow islander families and also work together to make the Housing Authority a better and more responsive agency""
In his remarks, deJongh stated that "he feared that the current federal management is risking the health and safety of Virgin Islanders. The conditions I have seen when I have been going from community to community are indefensible by any government, but especially by one where the richest government in the world where there are no financial constraints. Our public housing communities must be repaired, maintained and improved for the sake of these families and especially for the sake of our children."
Mr. deJongh noted that on St. Thomas the residents of the PMP Housing Community and Cooperative deserve further assurances that their homes will not be sold off for development by outside managers. "We all welcome the magnificent Yacht Haven project and the many opportunities it offers", deJongh stated, "but the federal housing officials ought not to think that this provides them with an argument to sell off our housing. Everyone should know that Virgin Islanders will never permit any sale of Pearson Gardens by outsiders. This housing community co-existed with the former Yacht Haven Hotel and Marina and the Ramada Hotel for many years, and it will continue to do so with the new Yacht Haven Grande which has reached out as a good neighbor to the community. This is the epitome of how we live in the Virgin Islands; people of all classes and races and wealth can live together and we all can and must prosper."

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