The Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) serves a population of 4000 plus low-income residents, who live both in public housing and Section 8 units.
On August 20, 2003, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assumed responsibility for the administrative operations of the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) due to the agency's substantial default of its Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) signed with HUD. A HUD Receivership Team was assigned to accomplish this task.
The Authority was faced with a significant dilemma and was put on notice by Mr. Michael Liu, (Former) Public and Indian Housing Program Assistant Secretary of HUD. One of several findings was the significantly high level of vacancies and the need to stop the financial drain and loss of income. To correct this problem several plans were put into effect. However, the HUD Receivership Team realized that the need to sustain improved vacancy efforts would be through the development of a strategic Marketing Plan.
As a result of HUD's administrative control, intended to turn the agency around and improve its operational performance and efficiency, HUD Receiver, Donna Ayala, instituted a VIHA Recovery Plan. The Plan's primary goal was to focus on implementation of a Vacancy Reduction Program.
The original goal was to reduce the number of vacant units by 300 by August 2004. The agency has successfully met this goal and has exceeded HUD expectations. The agency has currently embarked on a new goal to reduce the number of vacant units by 500 with a targeted completion date of December 31, 2004.
In December 2004, we celebrated the achievements of two major milestones: the rehabilitation of 349 vacant units and the successful completion and timely submittal to HUD, the Agency's 5-Year and Annual Plans. We started with 822 vacant units and we raised the bar. With 349 units already rehabilitated, we embarked upon our next planned goal to have 500 units repaired by the end of December 31st, 2004, the end of our fiscal year. Our goal is ambitious, but it reflects the urgency of our mission and the importance of reinforcing our Agency's priorities.