New Hanover County lends $1.65 million to Wilmington Housing Authority

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One hundred and fifty families are still displaced due to mold problems in their social housing, many of them living in hotels. But new WHA executive director Tyrone Garrett has promised to cut costs and get 98 units back online within six months.

“To be completely honest, this is our plan B,” he told county commissioners at a June 20 meeting. “We went to plan A originally before I arrived, and we find ourselves at this particular stage. We are trying to use other programs, a housing choice voucher program to try to find private housing for residents, we estimate that we could eventually accommodate 30 families in this capacity.

Garrett is also looking to use existing housing assistance programs to pay some of the hotel costs for displaced residents. As for repairs, Garret said it would take $6.3 million to bring 98 units online in six months while covering living expenses for displaced residents. The city and county will provide $3.3 million, plus $3 million from a state grant.

Before the board voted unanimously to grant the authority the loan, County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield had harsh words for the WHA’s previous leadership.

“They get into a dilemma for me with mismanagement, before you came here, Mr Tyrone,” Barfield said.

Commissioner Bill Rivenbark also blamed the federal government, but Garrett made it clear he didn’t want to cut ties while he tried to bail the housing authority out of its mold crisis.

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