NLV housing agency faces deadline

The end finally may be near for the long-troubled, oft-criticized North Las Vegas Housing Authority.

The debt-ridden agency, tasked with providing housing for some of the city’s poorest residents, is supposed to soon be absorbed — along with the Las Vegas and Clark County housing authorities — into the new Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority, which will be among the largest public housing agencies in the nation.

The North Las Vegas agency’s end can’t come soon enough for many.

“I’ll be so glad when it’s over,” said North Las Vegas City Councilman William Robinson, who has served on the housing authority’s board since the mid-1980s. “It’s been an albatross.”

But the agency first must resolve an expensive issue that threatens its inclusion in the end-of-year merger: $3.2 million in debt stemming from a bad investment and the misuse of federal funds that should have gone to help needy families get housing.

North Las Vegas officials are scrambling to come up with a plan to address that debt by a Jan. 1 deadline.

“We’re in negotiations” with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Maryann Ustick, acting city manager. “We’re trying to come up with a creative way to address this issue.”

Neither HUD nor North Las Vegas officials would discuss debt negotiations in depth while they are ongoing.

“We are still working on the repayment agreement and won’t comment on hypotheticals,” said Larry Bush, a HUD spokesman.

What is clear is that the North Las Vegas Housing Authority will not be welcome in the new regional “superagency” as long as it brings the debt with it.

“We should not be saddled with debt caused by the improper activities of someone else,” said Carl Rowe, the regional housing authority’s interim director.

Local officials have for years talked about consolidating the valley’s three public housing agencies to save money and more efficiently help poor people put roofs over their heads.

Legislation adopted earlier this year allowed the merger and stipulated that it be completed no later than Jan. 1.

The new agency would have a $113 million budget, employ 250 people, and manage roughly 3,000 public housing units and 10,000 Section 8 vouchers, which can be used to rent housing.

The North Las Vegas Housing Authority, the smallest of the valley’s three, has in recent years faced myriad financial and administrative problems.

Its former CEO, Don England, resigned last year amid controversy over his handling of issues at the Casa Rosa public housing complex. Families there had long been living with mold, failing stairways, rotting rafters, wiring problems and other substandard conditions.

England blamed shrinking funding from HUD for the agency’s issues.

Housing authority board members also blamed funding shortages for many of the problems, and said England hid the extent of those problems from them.

The city later took over management of the agency, and transferred its Section 8 program to the Las Vegas Housing Authority.

HUD has repeatedly said the agency was inadequately managed.

Rowe said “nobody exercised proper oversight” at the housing authority.

The agency’s debt breaks down as follows, according to a HUD audit completed earlier this year:

• $1.9 million lost on the Desert Mesa project, which was planned to be a residential development for low-income families near Carey Avenue and Commerce Street. The project was stymied by construction delays, soil problems and lawsuits from contractors. Construction was halted in 2004.

• $937,691 from the agency’s Section 8 program. Some of the money was misspent on administrative costs; the rest was improperly loaned to other agency programs.

• $400,372 meant for the development of affordable housing was instead used to cover expenses in other programs.

While officials remained mum on debt negotiations, plans could include the agency making monthly payments of $3,783 for 20 years as partial reimbursement for the misspent Section 8 monies, according to a proposed settlement agreement between the agency and HUD.

The payments would come from income generated from the agency’s 132 non-federally funded, low-income housing units. HUD also may record a lien against those housing units. Most of the rest of the debt “will be resolved at a later date,” according to the settlement.

Exactly how it will be resolved and whether a plan to resolve it will be in place by Jan. 1 remains up in the air.

Rowe said he doesn’t see how the agency can resolve its financial problems unless HUD forgives much of the debt or the city of North Las Vegas, which is suffering its own financial woes in a down economy, ponies up some funding. City officials balked at the latter idea.

“It’s a debt we as a city don’t have the capacity to pay,” Robinson said.

“I don’t see why the city should be on the hook for what the housing authority did,” Mayor Shari Buck said.

Buck has long been critical of the housing authority, especially the make-up of its board, which until recently contained four out of five North Las Vegas City Council members, excluding Buck. The mayor has said sitting on both the board and the council presented a conflict of interest.

Currently, only Robinson sits on both.

Buck acknowledged a city bailout of the housing authority could become “a policy decision” the council would have to consider. Still, “the city doesn’t have the money.”

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like