Bad Management Hurts Housing Aid

July 18, 1991|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff writer

A poor management record has cost the Anne Arundel Housing Authoritymillions of dollars in grants to repair and modernize its housing projects.

Citing the agency's difficulties with previous grants, theU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rejected a request for $5 million last August, allocating only emergency money for improvements.

Four months later, HUD officials in Baltimore also rejected the agency's long-range plan for improvements -- the cornerstone for securing grants for renovations.

Without an approved modernization plan, the agency will receive grants only for emergency repairs, said Rheba Gwaltney, spokeswoman for HUD's regional office in Baltimore.

Federal housing officials are reviewing another request from the authority for money through the Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program. The agency could receive the grant without a long-range plan but needs an executive director and CIAP coordinator to administer the money, said Gwaltney.

The authority's last executive director and CIAP coordinator were dismissed earlier this year. Applicants are beinginterviewed for both positions.

In rejecting the $5 million grantlast August, HUD officials said the authority "does not exemplify the necessary management and modernization capabilities" and faulted the administration of previous improvement programs. After two years, only 1 percent of a $1.6 million grant to renovate Meade Village, one of the county's two communities for low-income families, had been awarded in contracts, the letter says.

The authority has mapped out astrategy since August to award the rest of the grant to modernize Meade, Gwaltney said.

In recent correspondence, HUD officials were more upbeat about the agency's chances of receiving money for long-range modernization. Hiring an executive director and CIAP coordinator will speed the progress, Gwaltney said.

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