Discussion of replacement of a door access system at Housing Authority of the County of Warren properties and an upcoming meeting led to broader Authority Board concerns over the organizations relationship with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Authority Executive Director Tonya Mitchell-Weston notified board members representatives of HUD's Pittsburgh field office would visit the authority from Sept. 5 through 7 to help with needs identification. Mitchell-Weston noted occupancy rate concerns and a proposed move of authority offices to Riverview Terrace were to be discussed.
"I don't see a problem right away," Mitchell-Weston said.
She noted HUD could determine the authority's current waiting list for tenants is "adequate" and tell them not to take the units proposed to house the offices out of the rental pool.
"In which case we'd go back to our original plan," Mitchell-Weston said, referring to renovations of current facilities at Conewango Towers.
A door access system with a shared database covering residents and employees at Conewango Towers, Canterbury Court and Rouse Manor will begin installation on Monday. The new system is a replacement for one which stopped working in April when, according to Authority Treasurer Stacey Kranak, the system's software and hardware, "stopped talking to each other."
"It's just such an obsolete system," Kranak noted. "The guy came to put more (tenant numbers) in the database and it just wouldn't take it anymore."
The new system will cost approximately $16,000.
"Well under what we thought using the same file system across multiple buildings would be," Mitchell-Weston noted.
Board Chair Mike Lewis said, "To me it's unfathomable that it takes three months to fix something like this."
Kranak explained the work had to follow HUD guidelines and then be put to bid, which increased the amount of time needed to deal with the system.
"We're catering to HUD and HUD needs to understand we're not just renting to fill numbers, we're looking at who we rent to," Lewis said. "Tell them to leave Washington and look at it. I think they're losing sight of things."
Mitchell-Weston noted the authority receives it's subsidized housing funds from HUD and, "must cater to HUD to an extent, because without them we wouldn't exist."
"I'd hate to lose what we have because of politics," Board Member Gerald Carlson said.
"I think as a board we should sit down and tell them what our concerns are," Lewis said.