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    Saturday, April 01, 2023

    New London Housing Authority discusses new vouchers and loss of its management company

    New London ― The Housing Authority could gain federal housing vouchers for an apartment complex here but is losing the outside management company it hired five years ago.

    The city’s housing authority has not had control of a voucher program in almost a decade after a previous administration transferred it back to the federal government.

    The program was transferred to the state’s Department of Housing, which currently administers more than 350 vouchers in the city.

    The New London Housing Authority’s board of commissioners held a virtual meeting Tuesday in which it announced that the authority could get a contract for 50 voucher subsidies for units at George Washington Carver Apartments. The vouchers could potentially provide the authority extra revenue of up to $61,608 a month.

    The vouchers would allow residents living in the units to pay about 30% of their monthly adjusted income for rent and utilities. Currently most of the apartments have affordable standard rates for rent such as $490 for a one-bedroom apartment.

    The vouchers would give the housing authority extra revenue to maintain the property.

    During the meeting, Mayor Michael Passero congratulated the board and Kolisha Kedron, an employee of the Imagineers who serves as the authority’s executive director, for the work done to secure the vouchers.

    “We’ve been lobbying for years to get vouchers back, this doesn’t really represent (all the vouchers) but it represents the state’s confidence in our operation... and their commitment to work with us,” Passero said.

    He added that hopefully this is just the beginning of rebuilding a voucher program “which is incredibly important to run a housing authority.“

    Kedron said the state had recommended the authority receive funds for 50 vouchers reallocated from two properties in the Waterbury area. She received a letter on Jan. 17 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development confirming the potential transfer.

    Kedron said the letter asked the authority to respond showing interest in receiving the vouchers. She added the property would undergo an inspection.

    The Housing Authority has sought to redevelop the property for years. Kedron said and receiving the vouchers would better its chances of raising additional funds for the work.

    The George Washington Carver apartments has 130 units and 49 units of those units have permanent state subsidies the authority received in 2021. Kedron said receiving the vouchers means there would be 99 subsidized units at the complex. She said this would help those struggling to pay the standard rate of rent.

    The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to go forward with the process to obtain the vouchers.

    Management company not interested in renewing contract

    The board also discussed its future after Imagineers LLC, the management company it hired despite opposition in 2018, chose not to renew its contract with the authority. The contract expires Feb. 28.

    Candace Devendittis, the chair of the Housing Authority board, said there were no responses in a request for proposal from other management companies. She said Imagineers has said it is not interested in continuing forward with the next contract.

    The authority currently pays Imagineers for staffing costs it incurs as well as a management fee.

    The board now plans to hire an executive director to manage the authority as well as an accountant. The board of commissioners, all volunteers, will continue to oversee authority decisions.

    The Housing Authority has four full-time employees and is supported by four full-time Imagineer employees, including Kedron and three maintenance workers.

    Devendittis said the board should have a discussion about keeping Kedron and the other workers on board.

    Kedron expressed interest in staying with the authority.

    “I am an Imagineers employee but I have always said I’m the executive director of the New London Housing Authority,” said Kedron. “My fiduciary responsibility has always been to this housing authority.”

    Kedron said it’s exciting to see five years of work starting to come to fruition as far as the vouchers.

    “We’ve accomplished a lot but a lot more needs to be done,” she said.

    The commissioners decided to hold an executive session early next week to discuss possibly hiring Kedron and the other staff members.

    Imagineers could not be reached for comment Thursday.


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