Hoboken Housing Authority residents who attended a public meeting regarding the executive director search last night urged the CEO of Gans, Gans & Associates – the Florida-based company performing the search – not to appoint a politically connected director and to hire someone who can improve the day-to-day quality of life.
Sasha Arroyo, a Hoboken Housing Authority tenant, says she has black mold and mushrooms growing on her walls causing her two children to see pulmonologists – adding that Acting HHA Executive Director Bob DiVincent has yet to return her calls.
Arroyo, along with other HHA tenants, addressed the need for an immediate, accessible executive director at the HHA resident stakeholder meeting where Simone Gans Barefield, the CEO of Gans, Gans & Associates, reassured the tenants she will do her best to find what they are looking for.
Arroyo claims she first noticed the mold about four years ago and despite her reports, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not been able to address the problem.
“It’s been like this for four years since I’ve moved in, it’s not been taken care of and no one is helping me,” said Arroyo, “ I don’t get to see the director and its becoming worse because now my new born is also seeing a pulmonologist.”
For Barbara Reyes, she asked that the executive director to have no political ties.
“The people that are being interviewed hopefully are not politically connected because I think it gives us a better chance to have an executive director that’s genuinely going to care about the residents, and what the residents need – and not what the politicians want.”
Other qualities that were important to the tenants is for an executive director to be bi-lingual (in English and Spanish) and to have a great relationship with the community that lives in the Hoboken Housing Authority buildings, as well as with the Hoboken Police department.
According to Dana Wefer, chairwoman of the Hoboken Housing Authority, the stakeholder meeting was a successful one, even though there were not a ton residents in attendance. There are over 1,353 units with the HHA and about 20 people attended the meeting.
“The dialogue with the residents yesterday was very productive, and I’m thrilled that so many people came prepared with such thoughtful questions and commentary,” Wefer told Hudson County View today.
“Of course, the board wants to engage people as much as possible but it’s up to the individuals as to what extent they wish to participate.”
Barefield concluded the meeting by thanking the tenants for participating and said: “I will certainly give you back the best.”