The Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) is continuing to do everything possible to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of its public housing residents, programs participants and staff are not compromised during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, effective April 1, the following administrative controls and guidance for residents have been put in place and will continue through April 30:
- All in-person contact with the public at VIHA facilities throughout the territory remains suspended. Other than routine service providers, visitors are prohibited from entering VIHA’s facilities, including VIHA’s Central and Management Offices.
- Community Centers are closed to large group gatherings and events.
- After-School programs are suspended until further notice.
- The Resident Commissioner Elections scheduled for Thursday, April 16, has been postponed until further notice.
- All scheduled appointments for applicants and other clients will be rescheduled.
- Residents can continue to utilize the payment outlets within the banks that are currently in place. Rental payments can also be paid using a U.S. Postal money order and sent via U.S. mail.
- Residents with rent statements that must be adjusted should contact the property manager in their respective community by telephone, email and/or text message to obtain an updated statement. The new statement will be hand delivered to their unit.
- Please be advised that late fees for all rental payments are waived this month and until further notice.
- Public Housing Residents and Housing Choice Voucher Participants who have experienced a loss or decreased income must complete a Change of Circumstances Form to report their changed financial circumstance. This form can be found on VIHA’s website at www.vihousing.org. The completed form and supporting documents can be returned via email to email@example.com (for Low-income Public Housing) or firstname.lastname@example.org (for Housing Choice Voucher Program or Section 8), U.S. mail or in-person at the end of the suspension period.
- The Virgin Islands Housing Authority will continue to make monthly rental payments to landlords for eligible participants of the HCVP. Landlords are strongly encouraged to visit http://www.vihousing.org/publicdocuments/HCVDirectDeposit to obtain the appropriate form to sign up for direct deposit or contact our offices at 340-714-0174 on St. Thomas and 340-778-8442 on St. Croix for more information.
- For Housing Choice Voucher Participants, Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspections of occupied units will remain suspended during this period. VIHA will inspect vacant units only during this period. VIHA staff may use video conferencing to conduct special inspections of occupied units during this period. Renters should contact the landlord immediately if they are experiencing any repair issues relative to the rental unit.
- All utility checks will be mailed to residents.
- Staff at public housing communities will continue to serve customers via phone and email; they will address emergency repairs only.
- To report public housing maintenance emergencies, residents should continue to call 305-447-2464 and provide the following information: name of housing community, building and apartment number, name of person reporting issue, contact telephone number and description of maintenance emergency.
- Residents and employees are encouraged to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Virgin Islands Department of Health (DOH), Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and updates from the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services (DHS) and Virgin Islands Department of Education (DOE).
VIHA will continue to monitor this situation closely and modify its plan accordingly. It apologizes for any inconvenience and sincerely appreciate the public’s understanding. Furthermore, please listen to the guidance from health care professionals and wash your hands frequently, wear gloves and a face mask when in public places, said Robert Graham, CPM, executive director.