Tuesday deadline to approve Ypsilanti Housing Commission's recovery plan nears
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials are urging council to approve the Ypsilanti Housing Commission’s recovery plan as the Sept. 19 deadline draws near.
Council members voted 6-1 against the recovery plan at a special Sept. 7 meeting. As of Monday, it is not yet on the Tuesday, Sept. 18 agenda for consideration.
The recovery plan outlines several changes HUD believes need to be made in order for the program to remain sustainable as well as in control of the YHC.
The plan describes the results following HUD's review and assessment of the YHC, the measures that need to be implemented to improve performance and the desired outcomes to be achieved and establishes a timetable to achieve those outcomes. The plan identifies the "available remedies" to correct the commission's issues.
If the YHC does not implement the goals outlined in the plan, the YHC could face several penalties such as receivership or consolidation.
Since council voted overwhelmingly against approving the plan, Mayor Paul Schreiber said in order for it to be reconsidered one of the members that voted no would have to request that it be placed on the agenda.
"It would take one person to reconsider the vote who voted with the prevailing vote and that would be everyone except me or it would take two council mebers to put it on the agenda," he said. "Right now it's not on the agenda and there’s no request. I haven’t had one yet."
Council member Ricky Jefferson said he plans to request for the plan to be placed on the agenda. Jefferson said he is seeking another council member to support the motion.
Schreiber said he is not sure of what the repercussions would be if council chooses not to approve it before the deadline.
“I think HUD would like the city to sign onto the plan and say we’re a partner in this,” Schreiber said. “If the city doesn’t want to, I don’t know. I don’t know what they’re going to do. I think Mr. (Willie) Garret is trying hard to get city council to work with HUD and if city council decides not to reconsider the plan, he might work harder or he might not."
At the last meeting, Schreiber said that the city is possibly at risk of losing its entire public housing program. Despite the warning, Schreiber said an official ultimatum has not been received yet.
"We could end up losing that local control and in my view, HUD has been pretty clear in what they would like to see," Schreiber said. "It's all about the relationship with HUD.There's really a three-way relationship here. ...That whole relationship right now depends upon all of those entities working together."
At Tuesday's meeting, YHC Interim Director Eric Temple is expected to give an update on the commission. Schreiber said Temple will be discussing an audit that is nearing completion. The YHC hired an outside company to conduct an audit of its Section 8 program, which is in the process of being transferred to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Schreiber said some city council members requested the update from Temple.
Schreiber said council also will consider approving his housing commissioner nomination, Amy Grettum.
Grettum, an Ypsilanti resident, is a U-M graduate and previously served as a MSHDA inspector in 2003 through 2005. While there, Grettum inspected MSHDA affordable housing units in the Detroit area.
If approved, Grettum would replace previous board member Ma’ Cheryl Jones, who was removed after council voted in favor of a resolution submitted by Schreiber at the last council meeting.