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HUD   >   Press Room   >   Press Releases   >   2011   >   HUDNo.11-135
HUD No. 11-135
Donna White
(202) 708-0685
FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
June 29, 2011

HUD TAPS WIZE TO LEAD VIRGIN ISLANDS HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD
HUD senior advisor known as a public housing 'turn-around specialist'

WASHINGTON - Kimberly Wize, a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) senior advisor for public housing programs, will serve as the new administrative receiver and one-person board of commissioners for the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) effective July 1st. HUD announced Wize replaces Mirza Negron Morales, a HUD Deputy Regional Administrator, who served two years in this capacity.

"Under Mirza's stewardship, the Virgin Islands Housing Authority has turned an important corner and I thank her for her hard work. However, we also recognize that there is still important work to be done," said Sandra B. Henriquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "We're thrilled that Kimberly will be on board soon to lend her substantial public housing expertise to this important assignment."

In her new role, Wize will provide oversight and ensure rules, regulations and agreements undertaken by the housing authority are in line with the housing authority's mission. She will attend and conduct regular board meetings to provide direction as HUD continues its administrative receivership of the agency.

Wize joined HUD in 2008 as a senior program advisor for HUD's Headquarters Office of Field Operations. Out-stationed in HUD's Indianapolis Field Office, Wize works closely with troubled housing authorities and serves as an expert on development activities. Wize has more than 18 years of affordable housing experience, including direct public housing agency knowledge. She was the chief operations officer of the Indianapolis Housing Agency and was the executive director of the Indiana Housing Finance Agency (renamed The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority) after holding other key senior level positions within the agency. Wize held various positions with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and was executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention based in Indianapolis.

"We have no doubt that Kimberly will bring nothing but positive oversight and expertise to this role," said Negron Morales, who made the announcement today at a VIHA board meeting. "I am confident VIHA Executive Director Robert Graham has a steady and experienced hand to work with."

Last October, Negron Morales was appointed Deputy Regional Administrator for HUD's New York Regional Office requiring she assume agency-wide management and oversight responsibilities throughout New York and New Jersey.

HUD assumed control of VIHA in 2003 after the agency repeatedly failed to submit balanced budgets, violating HUD's financial reporting requirements, and general deterioration of operations and physical condition of the public housing, including many health and safety violations. HUD recovery teams resolved numerous financial and management deficiencies, leading to improved conditions of the public housing stock on St. Thomas and St. Croix. In 2008, HUD selected Robert Graham, a certified property manager with public housing experience, as the executive director. He has maintained day-to-day operations and has taken positive steps to improve conditions for residents and overall management of the agency.

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HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.