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Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHousing Authority Board Approves Write-Offs, de Chabert Property Sale

Housing Authority Board Approves Write-Offs, de Chabert Property Sale

In an attempt to balance its books for the first quarter of 2013, the V.I. Housing Finance Authority’s Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to write off $30,780 in outstanding rent owed by tenants on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Run by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, VIHA manages a number of housing communities throughout the territory, such as the William’s Delight Villas on St. Croix and the Paul M. Pearson Gardens on St. Thomas. The outstanding rent owed to the authority is from tenants that have not paid for 90 days or more and have either moved off-island or are still living on the properties.

VIHA Executive Director Robert Graham said Wednesday that the authority will still push to collect the debts, but generally “write off” these collectibles for accounting and administrative purposes. Tenants with back rent owed have been asked to sign off on a payment plan and may not receive a Section 8 voucher or be able to transfer to another housing community until they become current, Graham added.

Of the outstanding amount, the largest portion – $23,583 – is owed by tenants on St. Thomas, while the remaining $7,196 is owed by tenants on St. Croix.

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The second and final action item on the board’s monthly agenda involved the approval for "demolition and disposition" of 19 acres of land, the site of the former Ralph de Chabert Housing Community.

Graham explained that the authority had previously received from HUD’s Special Application Center approval for a partial demolition of the site, or approximately 15 acres of land. VIHA is now asking that the remaining four acres, closer to the ocean, be included in the request.

"We believe that including all the land would put us in a better position to advertise an attractive parcel for development and we believe that the fair market value of the property has increased by doing this," Graham said. "We hope we would get a fair return on the property so we can hopefully remove some of these blighted buildings from the landscape of St. Croix."

No one on the board objected to the request.

Graham told board members early in the meeting that the authority is continuing efforts to implement a home ownership program in the Williams Delight Villas Community – an effort that began in 2001, came to a halt, and was then recently renewed, with the authority working on a draft plan for the program that included upgrades to the homes.

Later in the meeting, however, William’s Delight tenants’ council president James P.G. Wakefield said most residents in the community do not support the plan in its present form and would like a meeting with VIHA officials to discuss various concerns. Wakefield said clarification needs to be given on who can purchase the homes and what criteria would be used.

Wakefield also said the authority has not addressed other issues plaguing the community. In particular, Wakefield said he does not know why "management" continues to allow certain tenants – who allegedly have criminal histories and engage in illegal activities – to live there, and he also expressed concern about vacant units being used as "crack houses" or safe houses for stolen goods.

"Just the other day there was a murder," he said. "The body was found along the road."

Wakefield said he has not signed off on the draft plan and called for a legal analysis of the document.

Housing Authority officials did not deny the request, but said that they have been trying to work cooperatively with the residents of William’s Delight Villas since the inception of the plan.

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In an attempt to balance its books for the first quarter of 2013, the V.I. Housing Finance Authority's Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to write off $30,780 in outstanding rent owed by tenants on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Run by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, VIHA manages a number of housing communities throughout the territory, such as the William's Delight Villas on St. Croix and the Paul M. Pearson Gardens on St. Thomas. The outstanding rent owed to the authority is from tenants that have not paid for 90 days or more and have either moved off-island or are still living on the properties.

VIHA Executive Director Robert Graham said Wednesday that the authority will still push to collect the debts, but generally “write off” these collectibles for accounting and administrative purposes. Tenants with back rent owed have been asked to sign off on a payment plan and may not receive a Section 8 voucher or be able to transfer to another housing community until they become current, Graham added.

Of the outstanding amount, the largest portion – $23,583 – is owed by tenants on St. Thomas, while the remaining $7,196 is owed by tenants on St. Croix.

The second and final action item on the board's monthly agenda involved the approval for "demolition and disposition" of 19 acres of land, the site of the former Ralph de Chabert Housing Community.

Graham explained that the authority had previously received from HUD's Special Application Center approval for a partial demolition of the site, or approximately 15 acres of land. VIHA is now asking that the remaining four acres, closer to the ocean, be included in the request.

"We believe that including all the land would put us in a better position to advertise an attractive parcel for development and we believe that the fair market value of the property has increased by doing this," Graham said. "We hope we would get a fair return on the property so we can hopefully remove some of these blighted buildings from the landscape of St. Croix."

No one on the board objected to the request.

Graham told board members early in the meeting that the authority is continuing efforts to implement a home ownership program in the Williams Delight Villas Community – an effort that began in 2001, came to a halt, and was then recently renewed, with the authority working on a draft plan for the program that included upgrades to the homes.

Later in the meeting, however, William's Delight tenants' council president James P.G. Wakefield said most residents in the community do not support the plan in its present form and would like a meeting with VIHA officials to discuss various concerns. Wakefield said clarification needs to be given on who can purchase the homes and what criteria would be used.

Wakefield also said the authority has not addressed other issues plaguing the community. In particular, Wakefield said he does not know why "management" continues to allow certain tenants – who allegedly have criminal histories and engage in illegal activities – to live there, and he also expressed concern about vacant units being used as "crack houses" or safe houses for stolen goods.

"Just the other day there was a murder," he said. "The body was found along the road."

Wakefield said he has not signed off on the draft plan and called for a legal analysis of the document.

Housing Authority officials did not deny the request, but said that they have been trying to work cooperatively with the residents of William's Delight Villas since the inception of the plan.