Jefferson housing residents weigh in on possible fed takeover

Will feds take over JP public housing?

MARRERO, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish public housing residents have mixed opinions about a call to have the feds come in and run things.

Some say mold is a persistent problem; others say needs are being addressed. At least one board member has had enough.

"This place is not being run right, and no one is seeing about this community at all," said Marrero public housing resident Glenda Brown.

Brown is among several residents who say mold is a problem. That, coupled with noxious odors from a nearby sewer plant and landfill, have her worried about her health.

"Headaches, bleeding problems and things like that," said Brown.

Evora Savage took matters into her own hands. She says she painted over mold in a bedroom.

"What I did, I cleaned it, and painted over it," she said.

Board member Sheriff Newell Normand worries about mold and possible health impacts, especially since he and other members are being kept in the dark by the board's failure to simply hold a meeting.

"We as board members have been provided no remediation plan," Normand said.

He says contracts are in disarray, and he wants the feds to move in to run the housing authority.

"Receivership if HUD does so wipes the slate clean," said Normand.

Others say they couldn't be happier about the way things are run.

Mold remediation teams are working in some units, but some residents say not enough is being done.

"We don't have anyone that stays long enough. A few months, and they gone," said Brown.

"Anytime the governance infrastructure is dysfunctional, the constituency suffers," said Normand.

Current housing board chair James Lawson says the board has not met due to ongoing litigation, which he hopes will be settled soon. And he doubts the feds will move in.

"HUD only accepts housing authorities called 'troubled housing authorities,' and that deals with finances. Our finances are great," Lawson said.

But some say it's not enough.

"They come out and say they coming back, but they never come back," said Brown.

And they say their health is suffering as a result.

The Jefferson Parish Council is now considering a resolution that would call for the feds to come in and run the Jefferson Housing Authority. It was proposed at this week's meeting, but was tabled so that council members could do more research on the issue.

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