VHA seeking $1.25 million from HUD

Published 11:42 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Vicksburg Housing Authority is seeking $1.25 million in operating funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for fiscal 2013, Executive Director Ben Washington said Tuesday.

“That total is the gap (difference) between our revenues and expenses from 2012. That gap was $1.2 million,” Washington said after the VHA Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday evening. “We will be able to get more this year than last year. We will be notified how much we’ll receive in December.”

The supplement request is almost double the $684,000 that VHA received last year from HUD for operations, which covers administration, maintenance and other activities to run the housing authority.

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The VHA Board in August approved a $1.6 million budget for fiscal 2013, which projected about $1.08 million in HUD operating funds.

In another matter, Washington said he will advertise for proposals to hire an agency to collect unpaid debts from tenants who left VHA developments owing money. The board in September moved $25,000 in uncollectible accounts from its books to the housing authority’s collection-lost expense account.

He said the housing authority has charged off a total of $164,000 in uncollected debts since 2008. During a brief discussion on the problem, board Chairman Christopher Barnett Sr. suggested using a collection agency.

Washington said he wants to hire and use a collection agency for about 18 months to see if the authority can recover some of the lost money.

“If we can just get a portion of what’s owed back, it would be useful,” he said.

He added the housing authority has another weapon to collect the money, because the debts are entered in HUD’s database, adding if anyone owing the authority money tries to get public housing, the debt will show up.