West Palm Beach outsources management of its housing department

April 18, 2012 02:15PM

CRA of Florida CEO Martin Larsen

After a decade of blunders marred its housing department, West Palm Beach has decided to lean on external help to reinvigorate the agency. The Palm Beach Post reported that city commissioners agreed to a three-year contract with Pembroke Pines-based Community Redevelopment Associates of Florida to run its housing department. It performs similar duties for Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coconut Creek and Plantation.

The city will pay the firm $365,000 for the five months remaining in this fiscal year — as Community Redevelopment needs to staff the department immediately — and $430,000 for the next year.

That’s far less costly than the repayments West Palm Beach has been forced to make to the federal government because of its mismanagement. Last year, it was ordered to pay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development $1.67 million for not successfully administering a program to provide new roofs for low-income residents who were victims of hurricanes.

Now, the federal housing department could force the city to repay $4.1 million in relation to expenses at the affordable housing project in Coleman Park, which was carried out by Bishop Harold Ray’s Redemptive Life Fellowship Church. [Palm Beach Post]