After more than 12 years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is returning the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) to local control from federal receivership effective June 30, 2014. HUD took possession of HANO in February of 2002 for substantial default of the agency's obligation set forth in the Annual Contributions Contract (ACC).
In 2009, HUD announced the creation of a local HANO Advisory Panel that served as a sounding board to provide counsel as the receivership team developed clear, identifiable, measureable steps to correct HANO's deficiencies. As a result of their efforts HANO can boast that it's providing housing assistance to 4,500 more families that it was when HUD took it over in 2002.
"I truly believe New Orleans is as strong as it's ever been and now is the right time for the agency to come home," said Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "The Agency is now more stable than it's ever been. Thanks to Mayor Landrieu and the members of the Advisory Board, HANO has solid leadership and a strong operational foundation."
"Today is a significant milestone for our residents as the Housing Authority of New Orleans begins transitioning back to local control from HUD," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "Following years of mismanagement and substandard housing for residents, HANO has reemerged and once again focused to perform its mission. This has been a long time coming, but the people of New Orleans are ready to once again lead HANO."
Prior to administrative receivership, HUD, the City of New Orleans, and HANO implemented several reforms and oversight strategies which failed to improve operations at HANO. HANO spent decades in serious default. HANO struggled to obligate grants including millions of dollars in HOPE VI grants, or implement proper procurement to revitalize its aging and obsolete public housing stock. HANO was deficient in other operational areas, such excessive vacant unit turnover time (200 days), over four times the satisfactory number of days.
David Gilmore, appointed by Secretary Donovan to serve as the administrative receiver, led the turnaround efforts. He brought nearly 40 years of experience as a senior level administrator in public housing. Prior assignments included deputy administrator for the Boston Housing Authority, and CEO of housing authorities in Seattle and San Francisco. From 1995 to 2000, Gilmore was the court‐appointed receiver of the District of Columbia Housing Authority, where he won national recognition for restoring the nation's worst performing housing authority.