HUD labels Kenner Housing Authority 'troubled' - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

HUD labels Kenner Housing Authority 'troubled'

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is out with a report labeling the Kenner Housing Authority a 'troubled' agency.

The new report comes after years of complaints from one housing board member and a FOX 8 News investigation.

HUD just lowered the status of the Kenner Housing Authority from substandard to troubled. The report sites a number of performance deficiencies in arriving at the troubled designation, which is based on a failing public housing assessment score of 32 out of 100 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

The troubled designation, HUD's worst, is no surprise to board member Al Morella.  He has been suspicious of Housing Authority activities throughout his three-year tenure.

Morella also launched his own investigation, but he says no one was listening.  He says, "This just shows incompetence on the rest of the board as well as the executive director."

FOX 8 has also been investigating spending by the Kenner Housing Authority for six months, recently acquiring a stack of records which examine travel and spending habits by authority staff.  Morella told us, "I'm not done with it. I want prosecutions."

The Kenner Housing Authority score is 10 points below that achieved by the troubled St John Housing Authority last year, when it too was deemed a 'troubled' agency. 

HUD has now directed the authority to take corrective measures to raise its assessment score, and 'ensure long term sustainability at an acceptable level of performance.'

Morella believes he and the rest of the board should be replaced to ensure that taxpayers are getting their money's worth out of an agency that oversees tens of millions of tax dollars each year.  

HUD has put the Kenner Housing Authority on a tight timetable.  It has asked the authority to provide it with a proposed recovery plan within 30 days.

FOX 8 requested an interview with the director of the Kenner Housing Authority, but we haven't heard back yet.

Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni tells FOX 8 he has serious concerns about the report, but at this point he is not moving to replace his board.  He does say it's time for them to act, though, and improve the agency.

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