HUD, Indianapolis Take Control of Local Housing Agency

HUD recently announced the federal and local takeover of Indianapolis Housing Agency. HUD has entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement (CEA) to take control of the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) alongside the City of Indianapolis.

The backdrop: Throughout the city, there are more than 20,000 residents who utilize housing under the management of IHA. Problems at the agency reportedly escalated in 2022 when residents of IHA-managed homes spoke out at a public meeting of the organization to share numerous complaints, including complaints about infestations, broken air conditioning units, security lapses, and crime. The city asked HUD to intervene in 2022.

An investigation by HUD into IHA found it failed to properly administer its Section 8 housing program, kept inaccurate records, and failed to deliver essential services. HUD also found IHA “failed to meet its obligation to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to Indianapolis residents.” In a news conference with the mayor, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Monocchio said the housing voucher program was in such disarray that 1,500 of the 9,000 available vouchers went unused at one point, rents were being set improperly, and owners who participated in the program were not getting paid.

What’s next: Unlike other receiverships undertaken by HUD, the partnership between the city and federal government in this possession signals the joint commitment to addressing the issues facing IHA residents and restoring confidence in the agency’s operations.

To establish a path forward, HUD will work with the city to develop a detailed strategy to stabilize the housing agency’s operations and rectify specific issues identified by HUD. The CEA signed today outlines HUD and the city’s respective roles and responsibilities. HUD’s first action is to replace the IHA board with Kimberly Wize, who serves as HUD’s Indiana field office director. From there, the city will soon appoint a local recovery monitor, with an existing IHA interim CEO remaining aboard to assist with turnaround efforts. But HUD is making it clear that former leadership is no longer involved in critical decision-making.