Charlottesville public housing board gets update on finances
We’re still just days into Virginia’s fiscal year, but the fiscal year of the city’s public housing agency is now entering its second quarter. The finance director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority
“Overall against budget we are on target,” said Mary Lou Hoffman, CRHA’s finance director.
At the end of the fiscal year, one issue was a backlog of unpaid rent by tenants. CRHA staff continue to find sources of revenue to cover arrears though state rent relief programs and reaching out to local resources. .
“Around March, we were at $229,000 but we’re currently at $126,000,” said John Sales, CHRA’s executive director. “And so they’re constantly talking about the tenant accounts which is a big focus that we have to have. It was one of the areas that the [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] dinged us on years ago for our accounts being so high compared to the amount we are collecting.”
Sales said one issue has been getting into contact with residents to get them set up with rent relief payment arrangements.
HUD classifies CRHA as a “troubled” agency due to a pattern of issues over the years. Sales said getting the finances correct alone will not change that status.
“The only issue that we have so far in our audits is the physical conditions and so we’re working to address those issues,” Sales said. “We had our physical audit in March and all of the emergency work orders were addressed.”
Another issue is tenant damage, which can also affect the HUD status in the audits. Sales said a maintenance plan will address this category.
Redevelopment is underway and two sites have been transferred to a new ownership structure in which the CRHA owns the ground and a Limited Liability Company has been set up to own the buildings for a certain period of time. An entity controlled by CRHA known as the Community Development Corporation Commission controls the LLCs. This allows the projects to be financed through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) as well as other sources.
“Technically, they are still our responsibility,” Sales said “We own the land. We own the management agreement. We have several loans attached to each development that will eventually either get paid back or get forgiven when we get the property back, get ownership of the property back in 16 years.”
HUD oversight of the public housing projects will continue, but it will be different because there are different kinds of subsidized units.
“We’ll have public housing units so one office will be inspecting them, and then another office will get inspections from LIHTC and gert inspections from HUD,” Sales said.
The LIHTC units would be inspected by Virginia Housing, which issues the credits in the Commonwealth.
Late this month, Virginia Housing’s Board of Commissioners approved low income housing tax credits for this year. Staff recommendations had been not to recommend credits for the first phase of redevelopment for Phase 1 of Sixth Street SE and additional credits for a second phase at South First Street.
There are three vacancies on the CRHA Board of Commissioners and Charlottesville is taking applications through August 5. The terms of Commissioners Maddy Green and Laura Goldblatt expired at the end of June, and Green is not seeking reappointment after filling an unexpired term. Council will make the final appointments.
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