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Housing Authority Authorizes Land Transfer, Other Actions to Increase Affordable Housing

Nov. 20, 2008 — Resolutions passed this week by the V.I. Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners would open up affordable housing opportunities for local residents, along with help to upgrade and repair many recreational facilities in the territory's housing communities.
The board also authorized the transfer of land on St. Thomas back to the local government. The property, about 34.6 acres in Estate Fortuna, was sold to the authority for $1 after Hurricane Marilyn. The federal government never invested any money in the property and will sell it back to the V.I. government — which is moving ahead with plans to put up housing units in the area — at the same price, according to a recent Government House news release.
The V.I. Housing Authority has been under the control of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 2003.
In other business, the the authority's board of commissioners passed resolutions to:
— Give the go-ahead on a contract for the emergency rehabilitation of 10 vacant units within various housing communities on St. Croix;
— Order the authority to contract with Creative Housing Solutions for redevelopment consulting services;
— Authorize the authority to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Housing, Parks, and Recreation on a joint venture to repair and upgrade the recreational facilities at various public housing communities on St. Thomas and St. Croix;
— Approve the site stabilization and erosion control storm water pollution prevention plan for the Louis E. Brown demolition project; and
— Approve contracts for the rehabilitation of 18 vacant units within a range of public housing communities on St. Croix.
“At this time of economic downturn, it is important that the V.I. Housing Authority be diligent in providing avenues of access to residents seeking homeownership. Families throughout the territory are looking for the programs to help facilitate owning a home, and we are happy to be taking steps towards making these hopes and dreams a reality for so many Virgin Islanders,” said Robert Graham, the authority's executive director.
Attending the board meeting were: David Reeves (the board's chairman), Graham, Deputy Executive Director Patrick Moss, Arnold Peoples (a representative from HUD), Irma Hodge (the authority's director of residential services and public relations), Ira Mills (the authority's chief financial officer), Marilyn Miller (the authority's interim director of procurement) and Lydia Webbe-Hughes, the authority's director of modernization and development.

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