UPDATE: Tenant Leaders and Advocates Call Upon HUD to Address the Dire Conditions and Racial Disparities at Millennia Properties
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2022
Contact: Foluke Nunn, American Friends Service Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Millennia Resistance Campaign Demands HUD Hold The Millennia Companies and Other Troubled HUD Owners Accountable for Poor Property Conditions
The member organizations that make up the Millennia Resistance Campaign— a group of Millennia tenants, community organizers, lawyers, and other allies from around the country— are going public with their demands for HUD to hold accountable the Millennia Management Company LLC and Millennia Housing Management Ltd, as well as other troubled HUD owners, for poor property conditions. The Millennia Resistance Campaign will formally present these demands to HUD at their meeting on August 17th.
The campaign aims to call the public’s attention to the poor treatment of tenants and substandard living conditions that are common in properties owned and managed by The Millennia Companies. Millennia is one of the largest affordable housing providers in the country, managing over 30,000 units across 26 states. Over the past few years, it has developed a reputation for failing to rectify critical issues within many of its complexes.
On April 4th, the National Housing Law Project sent a letter to HUD detailing the severe problems six of Millennia’s properties are facing. The letter highlighted how HUD has been slow to hold Millennia accountable for its actions and to bring the properties into compliance so that tenants are not living in unsafe conditions.
The campaign is asking that HUD take the following actions:
- Initiate a national investigation into Millennia and take what steps are necessary to ensure conditions are decent, safe, and sanitary.
- Improve oversight and enforcement of conditions standards throughout HUD’s Project-Based Rental Assistance portfolio.
- Reimburse Millennia tenants for out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred as a result of substandard living conditions.
- Provide safe, affordable housing choices to displaced Millennia
- Honor the demands of local tenant associations who have worked for years to improve their properties, hold owners accountable, and be free from retaliation.
- Include tenants and tenant associations in decision making about the future of their
- Protect tenants’ right to organize, a necessary key element to the holding troubled owners accountable for poor conditions; and
- Fund resident organizing activities, so that residents have the resources necessary to mobilize for better housing conditions and a meaningful stake in the preservation of their housing.
Members of the public can learn more about the campaign and how they can support it by following @MillenniaResistance on Instagram, and @ResistMillennia on Twitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2022
Contact: Deidre Swesnik, National Housing Law Project, email@example.com
Tenant Leaders and Advocates Call Upon HUD to Address the Dire Conditions and Racial Disparities at Millennia Properties
In an April 4, 2022 letter to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, tenant leaders and housing advocates detailed a broad-ranging investigation of one the nation’s largest owners and operators of HUD’s project-based Section 8 housing, Millennia Management Company LLC and Millennia Housing Management LTD. (“Millennia”), with a particular focus on the many properties in Black neighborhoods that the company has operated for years with hazardous conditions with HUD’s full knowledge. Millennia properties in Black neighborhoods are under-resourced and housing conditions are not corrected timely, adversely impacting residents for years to come.
“Since 2017, when the National Alliance of HUD Tenants first convened the Millennia Task Force to investigate Millennia after a host of tenant complaints, we have been demanding that HUD and Millennia take actions to improve the housing conditions within Millennia’s portfolio, to no avail,” said Geraldine Collins, acting executive director of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT).
“For years, Millennia has promised the residents at Cordoba Courts that our homes would be rehabilitated on a timely basis,” said Shalonda Rivers, president of the 22nd Avenue Apartments Cordoba Tenants Association in Opa Locka, Fla. and a National Low Income Housing Coalition board member. “But we have been forced to wait for years to live in habitable housing, and even now, what repairs have been made have failed to address serious issues like mold.”
HUD has overlooked health and safety issues at Millennia-owned and/or managed properties, despite repeated poor Real Estate Assessment Center (“REAC”) scores, which HUD uses to measure physical conditions at its properties. The poor housing conditions at Millennia projects are one example of an overarching problem with HUD’s lack of oversight of problem owners. In 2020, HUD’s Inspector General found that ensuring that HUD’s affordable housing is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair was a top management challenge. Despite this finding, there has been no substantive change to ensure that all families in HUD housing are living in decent, safe and sanitary housing.
“Nearly a year ago, Secretary Fudge promised us that Millennia would be investigated and held accountable for its actions,” said Charrise Crawford, president of Gabriel Towers Tenants Union. “But we have yet to see a broad investigation of Millennia by HUD. We are still being threatened, harassed, and ignored by Millennia while living in homes that are killing us. And they are getting away with it.”
“It is inexcusable that, in 2022, HUD continues to allow families to live in terrible housing conditions and fails to use existing tools at its disposal to keep families safe,” said Bridgett Simmons, staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project.
The groups urge HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge to establish a Headquarters-level team that includes the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Housing that will examine the significant and serious issues raised in the letter, develop and ensure better monitoring and enforcement of the agency’s condition standards to protect the health and safety of assisted residents and use new strategies to ensure that project-based rental assistance (PBRA) residents actually live in decent, safe and sanitary conditions.
“It is critical that HUD take action to remove landlords who cannot or will not maintain their PBRA properties in decent condition for tenants,” said John Henneberger, co-director of Texas Housers. “HUD has inadequate monitoring and oversight to uncover these problems and is far too slow to act to resolve them when they are brought to HUD’s attention.”
“Millennia’s conduct demands immediate attention from HUD to ensure that all assisted families are living in habitable housing,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.