The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority could face a federal takeover if steps are not taken to address a large number of vacant units in public housing complexes.
But the BMHA's assistant executive director tells WBFO the authority is working on a plan that he believes will pave the way for rehabilitation of many deficient housing units. Modesto Candelario said he's optimistic the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will recognize that the authority is taking decisive action.
"We're confident that our plan will get HUD at a comfort level and get them to understand that we're moving in the right direction, and there will not be the need for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to take over our operations," he said.
Most of the vacant units are located in the Commodore Perry and A.D. Price Courts housing complexes. There are more than 400 empty units in the two projects. These vacancies have resulted in lost revenue opportunities for the BMHA. Candelario said many of the empty units are in poor condition.
"These units are very, very old. Some of them were built in the 1930s and they're in need of major improvements. So we have been working to raise the necessary resources to revitalize them," he said.
The authority is working on a plan for HUD review that would create a nonprofit corporation that could borrow funds for rehabilitation projects.
The BMHA isn't the only public housing authority that has been facing problems, said Candelario.
"These are very challenging times, not only for Buffalo, but for all housing authorities across the country," he said. "The federal budget has not been very kind to housing authority programs."