IHA director cites ‘litany of issues’ for public housing during confirmation hearing

Indianapolis Housing Agency

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Citing a “litany of issues” regarding federal funding and oversight of public housing, designated Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) Executive Director John Hall told a City-County Council committee that he is in touch with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on a daily basis in attempts to fix the city’s troubled system to provide housing for low-income residents.

Hall appeared before the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee, which unanimously endorsed his appointment to head IHA and send that recommendation to the full council.

Mayor Joe Hogsett brought Hall from Wichita, Kansas, where he ran public housing to fix IHA’s problems which include financial irregularities, inaccurate occupancy rates, lagging maintenance issues and slumping revenues.

Hall told the committee that, “once the staff development has occurred by July of this year then we’re going to insure that we are addressing applicants, getting them qualified for units, getting them put into units, making sure we’re doing the annual recertifications timely and all of that will feed into a sustainable level of occupancy.”

During the IHA Board of Commissioners meeting earlier this month, Hall announced that agency staff had a 96 percent error rate in administering the Section 8 program to put residents into private housing units with government subsidies and that the agency’s occupancy rate at all its properties had slumped to 89 percent, a full eight points below industry standards and putting IHA in danger failing to make this year’s projected $77 million budget, the vast majority of which is provided by the federal government.

Hall said some elements of IHA operations could be vulnerable to potential HUD takeover if changes are not made, including reforms in the agency’s handling of Section 8 funds.

IHA manages or provides funding for an estimated 22,000 public housing recipients.

Hull told the Board of Commissioners he is reconciling IHA’s outdated waiting list which claims to have more than 130,000 seeking public housing assistance.

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