Gloversville Housing Authority Board Chair resigns

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Gloversville Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Mazur, left, listens as GHA Chairperson Brenda Leitt, center, announces her resignation. GHA Vice Chairperson John Poling is at right.

Gloversville Housing Authority Board Chairperson Brenda Leitt resigned Monday during the board’s monthly meeting.

Leitt said her reasons for wanting to leave the board are personal and did not comment further.

“I’m resigning from the board effective Sept. 15,” she said. “This has been a great board, and a good experience. I’ve learned a lot, and I think this is a great place, but for personal reasons, there’s a lot going on, and I have to step back, and that’s all I’m going to say.”

GHA Board Attorney Anthony “Tony” Casale said the board is now down two members, leaving it with five. He said Gloversville Mayor Vince DeSantis is tasked with making an appointment to fill the remainder of Leitt’s term, as well another vacated seat on the board.

GHA Vice Chair John Poling said he’s sorry to see Leitt go. He said he’s not sure what can be done to increase interest in serving on the board. He suggested the authority use social media to advertise the need for people to express interest in serving.

“I’m trying to think what can we do as a collective body, as a board, to reach out to people, and say we’re looking for board members,” he said.

Casale said he’s not sure why it’s been hard to keep the board filled in recent years.

“It’s been a struggle to have full membership of this board, and I don’t know that there’s an easy pool of candidates for the mayor to select from,” he said.

GHA OCCUPANCY

GHA Executive Director James Mazur provided the most recent housing report for the authority Monday, which showed 86%, or 252 total units, of the GHA’s 293 rental units are currently occupied, leaving 41 units, some of which are undergoing repairs, currently empty.

The July breakdown for the GHA’s three housing complexes is as follows:

Dubois Garden — 91.7% occupied (78 units filled | 16 units empty)

Kingsboro Towers — 85.2% occupied (92 units filled | 16 units empty)

Forest Hill Towers — 82% occupied (82 units filled | 18 units empty)

Mazur said the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which regulates public housing authorities like the GHA, wants its authorities to be at least 95% occupied, but he said the federal agency is working with the authority to implement a corrective action plan to help improve occupancy. Mazur said many public housing authorities are experiencing similar occupancy difficulties to the GHA coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mazur said one problem he’s seen repeatedly is applicants incorrectly filling out the paperwork needed to qualify for the income-qualified units, with applicants sometimes claiming to have been victims of domestic abuse when no police records verify that claim, which then disqualifies the applicant.

The key focus of GHA’s corrective plan with HUD has been increasing the maintenance staff to six workers, up from five, enabling the authority to more quickly turnaround recently vacated housing units for renting.

“We’re definitely aggressively working on it,” Mazur said, “and as long as you’re showing the signs of progression and making sure you’re still moving in the right direction, there’s no need to worry about loss of [HUD] funding, or anything like that.”

By Jason Subik

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