Meridian Star

Local News

December 19, 2013

MHA earns HUD award

MERIDIAN —     Good management and strong financial practices have earned the Meridian Housing Authority a designation from HUD as a 'High Performer' for the second consecutive year.

    Ron Turner, MHA director, said on Wednesday that the honor is due to the hard work of the staff.

"This is by far one of the most dedicated staffs in the city and I have the honor and privilege of having them do the day to day operations of the housing authority," Turner said.

    MHA scored 95 out of a possible 100 points.

    The award is a result of HUD’s annual Public Housing Assessment System’s analysis of the MHA. Turner said HUD evaluates the management of 3,200 public housing authorities in finance, management operations, facility management and capital funding.

    Because of the designation, MHA will receive an additional three percent funding allocation from HUD and MHA will also receive relief from specific HUD requirements including fewer mandatory reviews and less monitoring from both the local and national offices.

    "We really appreciate that designation. It means a lot to the Meridian Housing Authority. First of all, it means additional capital funds dollars that we will be able to use to fund much-needed repairs for some of our older housing developments," Turner said. "It also means that our housing authority has the opportunity to apply for certain HUD grants. Being a high-performer does give you an opportunity to be considered for additional HUD grants that normal housing authorities just don't have an opportunity to apply for. We are very grateful for that."

    On hand for the MHA announcement, Ricky Hood, executive director of the East Mississippi Boys and Girls Club, said the club's partnership with the housing authority is vital.

    "As long as I have that relationship with the housing authority, I feel good about going to work every day," Hood said. "I understand that our residents want more and they demand more. You have responded to those demands and that is so important."

    Randy Hammon, Ward 5 councilman, said the council and mayor are committed to doing more to improve housing in Meridian.

    "All cities fight these problems, but we could do better at fighting them and this is an example; having this today," Hammon said. "You all have hung in there and have done a good job for a long time. You need more support. We have to start putting more into safe, livable places for these kids and for adults. We have a lot of seniors who deserve a decent place to live and a safe environment. I want to see better housing. I want to see safer environments for everybody."

    MHA currently owns and operates 1,215  public housing apartments and administers 211 Housing Choice Vouchers throughout  Meridian. Additionally, the agency manages 87 market rate apartments.

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