HANO to collect $1.8M in overpaid housing assistance
6th July 2011 · 1 Comment
The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) last week began collecting an estimated $1.8 Million in overpaid housing assistance to a total of 956 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program landlords, 136 of which are still participating in the program. The overpayments were received primarily during the period 10/1/07 through 9/30/09.
HANO has launched a major effort to recover the public funds through the use of a combination of in house and outside legal counsel, and a national collection agency. Affected landlords will receive correspondence from Administrative Receiver David Gilmore stating the amount owed to the agency. They will be able to escape added interest, collection, and potential legal fees if they respond within 10 working days of receipt of the letter.
In April, HANO officials discovered a substantial number of duplicate payments averaging $1,900 per affected housing unit. According to HANO’s Legal Department, the Housing Assistance Contract states that the agency may deduct overpaid funds from any future payment to landlords participating in the program.
“HANO will immediately address this issue and take action by demanding the return of overpaid funds to the agency,” said Gilmore. “We will be relentless in our efforts to preserve the integrity of this agency and will use all legal means at our disposal to clear this debt so that we can continue to provide safe, decent living opportunities for our tenants.”
Landlords currently participating in the HCV program who do not make repayment arrangements within 10 days will have amounts owed plus accrued interest deducted from their current Housing Assistance payments over three months. Those former landlords who do not make repayment arrangements within 10 days will be referred to a collection agent. Accrued interest and the fee of the collection agency will be added to the amount owed.
HANO is currently assisting 17,081 families through the HCV/Section 8 program with over 22,000 families remaining on the waiting list.
<em>This article originally published in the July 4, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.</em>
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