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'That's all we are asking for' IHA residents encourage city and HUD deal

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 19:45:23-04

MARION COUNTY — The city is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make sure people receiving assistance from the Indianapolis Housing Agency get the help they deserve.

At this time, the city has only filed a letter of intent with HUD, but if a deal is reached, the city said it's goal is to make sure the Indianapolis Housing Agency is financially stable and able to better serve residents.

"That would be so great. That would be what people like me are looking for. That's all we are asking for," said Barton Tower resident, Katie Hinton-Burger.

Completed maintenance orders, clean living conditions, and security are some of the things Katie Hinton-Burger and William McMiller said residents have been struggling with at Barton Tower.

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It's not the only low income housing complex owned by the Indianapolis Housing Agency that's facing allegations of poor living conditions.

"We don't have no activities, nothing to make older people like me happy. Then, we have to put up with roaches and bedbugs and stuff like that," said Hinton-Burger.

"We pay rent here. We should be able to live here comfortably," said McMiller.

Another IHA property, Lugar Tower, isunder investigation by the Indiana Attorney General's Office.

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A 2022 data breach and years of complaints from IHA residents prompted the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to perform a financial review on the agency and for the city to take action.

WRTV has requested the full financial report from IHA and HUD.

"The federal government had concerns as shown in the report. We have concerns to make sure IHA is well run, so this seems like time to cooperate with federal government to make sure it's managed as well as possible," said Corporation Counsel for the city of Indianapolis, Matt Giffin.

Giffin said it's in the process of reaching an agreement with HUD that will allow the city to step in and help reorganize the housing agency.

"The city has been supporting IHA in various ways including helping dig them out from cyber attack last year. This would involve a closer relationship, more city support, more city involvement in structure and management of IHA. The details we don't know yet, but working on it with HUD," said Giffin.

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Residents will be notified of any future changes.

Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement, Judith Thomas, said that includes:

"Simply listening. Looking at where the challenges are and taking next steps to make sure we are working to make it better for everyone. I think that's why residents are so happy to know people are very concerned and we want to be there to make sure things are going right for them," she said.

Relief, residents tell WRTV, is long overdue.

"This is not our problem. They should be able to step in here and help us much more than they do. Other than that, I love where I live at and I don't want to go no where," said Hinton-Burger.

"We hope to have it finalized by end of this year. It's in negotiation with the federal government so it could be lengthy review process but hoping to have it by then," said Giffin.