FAQFAQ   SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlistRegisterRegister  ProfileProfile   Log in[ Log in ]  Flint Talk RSSFlint Talk RSS

»Home »Open Chat »Political Talk  »Flint Journal »Political Jokes »The Bob Leonard Show  

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums


FlintTalk.com Forum Index > Political Talk

Topic: When the flint public housing net is broken

  Author    Post Post new topic Reply to topic
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Records show Flint Housing Commission complexes failing to meet minimum standards

Print Email Ron Fonger | rfonger1@mlive.com By Ron Fonger | rfonger1@mlive.com
on May 16, 2010 at 1:00 PM, updated May 16, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Howard Estates Townhouses.JPG.jpeg
Hollyn Johnson | The Flint Journal
Howard Estates was among the Flint Housing Commission properties that failed the most recent federal inspections.

FLINT -- Conditions at Flint’s eight public housing complexes are so substandard that every one of the properties flunked the federal government’s most recent annual inspections.
And the executive director of the Flint Housing Commission says some developments may need to be knocked down and rebuilt instead of repaired because of years of neglect.
All eight of the county’s public housing facilities, all of which are in Flint, failed and most received less than half of the 100 points possible in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s assessments, according to records obtained by The Flint Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request.
As many as 1,248 families call these buildings — set up as a housing safety net for the poor and subsidized by HUD — home.
Inside and outside, inspectors found a laundry list of problems in all the buildings, including misssing, damaged or expired fire extinguishers; damaged locks; and missing electrical covers.
Complexes were routinely marked down for everything from tripping hazards to missing or damaged appliances, to mold and mildew, and missing smoke detectors.
Howard Estates scored just 30 points out of 100 in an October inspection, marked down for health and safety problems, particularly inside apartments, including mold and mildew in a number of units, exposed wires and insect infestation.
About 20 units are out of service at Howard Estates because of needed repairs.
Janaze Jackson, a resident of Aldridge Place, another failing complex, said she’s been waiting to see things get better.
“I’ve been waiting to get my ceiling fixed for two years,” Jackson said. “They haven’t fixed nothing in my apartment.”
HUD conducts the inspections — checking common areas and a sample of individual apartments — to insure residents have decent, safe and sanitary housing.
Three months ago, The Journal reported on safety conditions at one of the complexes — River Park Apartments, one of the Housing Commission complexes where a fire killed four children in February.
Nearly half — 46 percent of the units inspected there — had problems with smoke detectors just a few months before the fatal fire.
HUD records show every Housing Commission multi-family property in Flint had one or more life-threatening health and safety deficiencies during 2009 inspections. All but two — Mince Manor and Kenneth M. Simmons Square — had smoke detector violations.
Health and safety violations have to be corrected immediately and include problems like blocked fire exits, open electrical system boxes, and broken cover plates on electrical outlets.
“The public housing stock we have is pretty much outdated, (and) past administrations haven’t addressed modernization,” said Rod Slaughter, executive director and chief executive officer of the Housing Commission. “It’s allowed this to happen. My focus is to modernize.”
The failing condition of FHC apartments has landed it on HUD’s list of troubled agencies since March 2006, according to Donna White, a spokeswoman for the agency.
In an e-mail, White said a revolving door in the commission’s executive offices has contributed to chronic condition problems in public housing.
“I think we are making improvements. The outward signs are not there yet, but this particular leadership seems to be putting in place what needs to happen to see improvements,” White said.
Slaughter has been in charge of the agency for more than two years but before him, the Housing Commission had “no permanent (executive) sufficiently skilled or empowered to commit to preparing and submitting a request for HUD’s Capital Fund Financing Program,” White said in her e-mail.
Slaughter said his goal is to bring the Housing Commission off the failing list this year and has some ammunition to do that: $3.1 million in stimulus funds as well as $2.5 million in regular formula funding to make improvements.
The stimulus money came as a result of a competitive grant program.
Without the extra money for upgrades in the past, Slaughter said, the agency has been doomed to fail its inspections because big-ticket items like doors and windows never get fixed because they simply need to be replaced.
The agency is removing potentially unsafe playground equipment — another repeated safety issue with HUD — and spending on renovations that haven’t been done in decades, Slaughter said. It also has hired a company that specializes in showing housing agencies how to score better on HUD inspections.
Slaughter also wants to evaluate properties to determine whether it makes sense to demolish and rebuild public housing rather than making repairs to the aging collection of developments.
The Housing Commission’s three lowest-scoring complexes — Howard Estates, River Park and Atherton East — are the most likely properties he said could be targeted for demolition and rebuilding.
Howard Estates resident Sandy Jones said she’s lived in that complex for almost eight years and sees things getting better.
“It’s not like you feel like this place can never change,” said Jones, 45. “I feel like they have been making improvements ... (and) are going to upgrade everything.”
Even the FHC’s highest-scored properties failed to get a passing grade, including Aldridge Place, where resident Ronnesha Holmes said it takes too long for repairs to happen.
“People keep it up the best way they can,” said Holmes, who said she believes management has let some repairs slide with the thought of getting more dollars as a result.
She has lived at Aldridge since 2006 and in public housing since 2003.
“It boils down to money,” she said. “If you keep the appearance low then you can get more money.”
The Housing Commission was created in 1964 and is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the mayor of Flint.
It owns 1,248 units of low-income housing and gets its funds from rents, which are subsidized by HUD. In addition to its multi-family developments and scattered homes, the commission provides rental assistance for about 700 families through a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
Former executive director John Carpenter, who briefly headed the agency under former mayor Don Williamson, said a problem facing FHC had been a large number — about 250 — of apartments that had been mothballed because the need for repairs overwhelmed the agency.
Today, some of those have been fixed, but there still are about 100 apartments that have been taken out of service for the same reason, officials said.
“The place was a mess,” Carpenter said of the agency. “So many things needed to be done. People are really hard on the units (and) not caring about the places they live.”
Carpenter said in the 11 months he worked as interim director he evicted 77 people and hired outside contractors to make some changes but said there were too many buildings with too many problems.
Slaughter said he is the ninth executive director of the commission since 2003.
“I think they used Band-Aids,” he said. “I don’t want to do Band-Aids.
“We’re not putting on patches. We’re addressing that deterioration.”


Failing to make the grade
Here are Flint’s eight public housing apartment complexes and the most recent scores each received after 2009 inspections by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Properties are listed from highest to lowest scores. Scores of 60 or more are considered passing.
• 58: Kenneth M. Simmons Square, 2101 Stedron St., 93 units, built in 1993.
• 54: Aldridge Place, 5838 Edgar Holt Drive, 93 units, built in 1984.
• 48: Richert Manor, 902 E. Court St., 195 units, built in 1970.
• 47: Mince Manor, 3800 Richfield Road, 110 units, built in 1978.
• 35: Centerview, 2001 N. Center Road, 90 units, built in 1968.
• 31: Atherton East, 2123 Chambers St., 191 units, built in 1967.
• 30: Howard Estates, 801 Floral Park, 95 units, built in 1968.
• 30: River Park, 7002 Pemberton Drive, 179 units, built in 1969.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:23 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Richardson, who retired in July in the wake of two sexual harassment lawsuits against him, was paid for 918.5 hours in unused vacation time, totaling more than $31,000. His hourly rate was $34.49. With vacation and retirement benefits, his effective payout topped $50,000.

One lawsuit, involving Swanzetta Wilson, has been settled in which the city paid $4,000. The other, involving Deborah Pellens, is set for trial in September. The city and housing commission· no longer are defendants in that case.
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:38 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Lawsuit:
Deborah L. Pellens and Frederic Pellens
v
Reggie Richardson and City of Flint/Flint Housing Commission

NO. 98-62492 cz
deposition of phyllis Miller (Lemon) appearing on behalf of defendant Reggie Richardson

There was testimony of miller being a member of the Flint Housing Commission for 12 years, appointed in 1984 by Mayor Rutherford. She had been the commission president for 3 years ; 96, 97, and 98. Before Richardson, the Director was kenneth Simmons.
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:14 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Pages 7-8

Discussion of hiring of Richardson as Director

Initially Commissioners Miller and Denise Smith Allen were opposed to selecting Reggie Richardson as the Director replacing the retiring Simmons.

iller stated she was opposed because she did not believe Richardson was the right candidate for the job. However then Mayor Woodrow Stanley had recommended Richardson , who had worked with Simmons, and the three male commissioners,Mince, Gerholz and Reverend Aldridge supported that decision.

Simmons had not supported that recommendation and had stated Richardson wasn't interested in learning things.
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:27 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

" .....he (Richardson) took Cynthis Simmons' place, because Cynthia had passed and Ken Simmons never filled that spot. That's how Reggie got to be Deputy Director. So when Ken was trying to train Reggie, he was saying tht Reggie was doing income taxes, and his mind wasn't totally on the commission, but we couldn't get the third vote to vote him down......all of the male commissioners were saying, you know, you vote with us or you won't get anything passed on this board. That was the bottom line."

Miller and Smith tried to get a third vote but they couldn't. Miller characterized the former Commission board as a family and stated the new board was "everybody's for themselves"".
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:38 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

page 9 on the reasons Miller resigned from the Commission

"Because it was really depressing to see we've got over 425 vacancies, that was the main thing, that and we had trouble with trying to get staff trained because when Mr. Simmons came out, you know, we had had HUD come in and they was telling us what our faults were , because at the time HUD almost took over the Commission, because we had a little over 500 vacancies when Mr. Simmons came in.

And so then Ken got friendly with HUD, because they wouldn't even talk to us. And the day Ken came in, they were willing to turn the lights off on our seniors over there at Wilson's and you know, he just brought us---brought u out of the dumps.

Then when the commissioners came on, he took us out there and we went through the projects and we saw, you know, how the people were living, and you know, he said never again, and he went in and cleaned it up. And we had less than a hundred--150 vacancies when he left, now we're close to 500."..
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:56 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Miller said the main criteria for hiring was that the mayor had recommended and Richardson had worked under Simmons, although Simmons thought it was a bad idea. Miller stated she knew Simmons from when he was President of Local 651 and trusted his judgement. However sha and Smith were unable to get a third vote.

page 13
"And the staff, that was the main--my biggest problem with Reggie was the stff. Some of them didn't get trained until last year, and that's because I kept complaining, and everybody was mad. s mad. Reggie was mad at me, you know, and--but when mr. Simmons was there, everybody, everybody had trainig, because HUD is stady changing every year, even the Commissioners."
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:13 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Miller went on to state Richardson told the Board that Pellens was out due to an aneurism and never mentioned the sexual Harassment until it was ready to hit the news. Even then the Board did not question the validity of the allegations. HUD board training had instructed the Board to "let the Director run his department, because he knows what's best and who, you know, who to work with, so we felt like he knew what he was doing."

According to Miller the Board did not investigate even after it hit the paper, because they believed Richardson.

miller had resigned before the allegations of sexual harassment by Richardson were made by Swanzetta Wilson.
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:28 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

page 19
Miller stated staff was intimidated by Richardson so they would not go to the board. She refused to name them because she feared they would lose their jobs.

"And the only thing I can do is get mad. I'm over at Delphi working everyday your'e out there on the street, because Reggie has all this in his office, like an attitude problem, and it always came back when he got up in the staff meetings and act nasty towards the staff. It did get back. It came back.

Everybody knows about the nasty staff meetings he had, how nasty he was, and rude to the staff. "
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:30 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

page 19
Miller stated staff was intimidated by Richardson so they would not go to the board. She refused to name them because she feared they would lose their jobs.

"And the only thing I can do is get mad. I'm over at Delphi working everyday your'e out there on the street, because Reggie has all this in his office, like an attitude problem, and it always came back when he got up in the staff meetings and act nasty towards the staff. It did get back. It came back.

Everybody knows about the nasty staff meetings he had, how nasty he was, and rude to the staff. "
Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:31 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Richardson dated Flint Housing employee Redonna Banks from 1993 until they married in 1997. He divorced his first wife, Sudie, in 1996.

Miller discussed that some on the board knew Reggie was messing around with Redonna"and the next thing you knew they were married.

Miller wnt on to discuss what could be called a Toxic ork environment. "Some of the things I didn't like about Reggie was the way he talked to the staff, and the cars, a lot of stuff he bought, I felt like the commission could do without." When asked about Richardson's salary, Miller admitted tha Richardson wanted raises to come up to what other people were making because he was the head of public housing for the City of Flint.
Post Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:19 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Q. " And would it have been an environmentwhere if an employee wanted to tell you about a problem they would experiencing, that you would have been open to listen to what they have to say?"

Miller: "Yes, but they wouldn't. They would not come forward,because nobody wanted tolose thir job. .....The people that was having the problems, they never told me. I heard it from somebody else, you know, and I felt so bad, because I don't know what to do without somebody losing their job.
And the way he addressed the Board aboutif you don't like--if the employees don't like what was going on, they could leave....."

Miller stated the employee issue was part of the reason she left he board because she fely like she "was doing nothing". Miller indicated there was poor union response.

* Between 1993 and 1998, Richardson's compensation went fom $41,196 to $70,001.
Post Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:34 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Q. " And would it have been an environmentwhere if an employee wanted to tell you about a problem they would experiencing, that you would have been open to listen to what they have to say?"

Miller: "Yes, but they wouldn't. They would not come forward,because nobody wanted tolose thir job. .....The people that was having the problems, they never told me. I heard it from somebody else, you know, and I felt so bad, because I don't know what to do without somebody losing their job.
And the way he addressed the Board aboutif you don't like--if the employees don't like what was going on, they could leave....."

Miller stated the employee issue was part of the reason she left he board because she fely like she "was doing nothing". Miller indicated there was poor union response.

* Between 1993 and 1998, Richardson's compensation went fom $41,196 to $70,001.
Post Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:34 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
  Display posts from previous:      
Post new topic Reply to topic

Jump to:  


Last Topic | Next Topic  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums

Website Copyright © 2010 Flint Talk.com
Contact Webmaster - FlintTalk.com >