Kenner Housing Authority misses deadline, HUD threatens takeover - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Kenner Housing Authority misses deadline, HUD threatens takeover

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Image of KHA offices from Google Maps Image of KHA offices from Google Maps
Kenner, La. -

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has now sent the Kenner Housing Authority a letter, threatening to take over unless the troubled agency follows the rules.

The warning follows a series of FOX 8 investigations and a recent visit from HUD investigators.

It has been one month since HUD investigators descended on the offices of the Kenner Housing Authority.  Part of their remediation plan was to have KHA submit its proposed recovery plan by the end of November.  But that was not done.

"They are talking about putting this agency under receivership," said Kenner Housing board member Al Morella.

Now FOX 8 has obtained a 'failure to comply' letter which HUD sent to the Kenner Housing Authority.  The letter says HUD may refer KHA to HUD's enforcement center, which could suspend the authority's operations, consolidate them, or even place them under HUD control.

Roxanne Gort has been dealing with alleged shortcomings at KHA for five years.  She says the agency has repeatedly failed to evict tenants with criminal pasts, as required by HUD.

"Kenner Housing is fully aware of the criminal activity in these buildings. I've been going there for the last six months trying to report it," said Gort.

She says KHA's failure to evict criminals has made the units she owns on Vouray Drive an often-dangerous place to live, in spite of her own efforts to maintain high standards and follow HUD rules. 

The crime on Vouray has spilled into the rest of Chateau Estates, and residents here say they want it stopped.

"We would like to see them enforce the ruling that, once they're caught, they need to no longer live there. They need to come down on the property owners," said Chateau Estates Homeowners Association leader Tina Bezou.

While Chateau Estates homeowners worry about property values, Kenner Housing board members worry about losing HUD rental benefits that poor tenants need.

"There haven't been any financial reports submitted to HUD in two or three years, and we're talking big bucks -- two or three million a year, ' said Morella.

This board member believes there could be a HUD takeover, once the department's investigation is concluded.

Meantime, Morella has filed a police report alleging he was shoved by fellow board member Donnie Small after a contentious board meeting two weeks ago.

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