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VIHA Resident Council Elections Are Planned

Sept. 11, 2004 – Elections for resident council officers will be conducted on Oct. 19 to fill vacancies in V.I. Housing Authority communities in both the St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix Districts. Particulars for public housing residents are posted verbatim here.
The role of the resident council, according to a release from VIHA's Public Relations and Resident Services Department, is to improve the quality of life and resident satisfaction and participate in self-help initiatives to enable residents to create a positive living environment for families living in public housing. Resident councils may actively participate through a working partnership with the Housing Authority to advise and assist in all aspects of public housing operations.
The terms of current officers are scheduled to expire; it is therefore necessary to conduct new elections. All procedures ensure fair and frequent elections of resident council members and each member must be re-elected at least once every three years.
Election Time and Places
Elections to fill vacant positions for resident council officers will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. as follows:
— St. Thomas/St. John District: Paul M. Pearson Gardens, H.H. Bergs Homes/Additions, Oswald Harris Court, Michael J. Kirwan Terrace, Tutu Hi-Rise, Estate Bovoni and Knolls at Contant.
— St. Croix District: D. Hamilton Jackson Terrace/Alphonso Gerard Complex, Ludvig Harrigan Court, Marley Homes/Marley Additions, Ralph deChabert,John F. Kennedy Terrace, Aureo Diaz Heights, Williams Delight Villas, Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion, Whim Gardens, Mount Pleasant, Nicasio Nico Apartments, Candido Guadalupe Terrace and Joseph E. James Terrace.
Election Eligibility, Procedures, and Standards
(1) Any resident of public housing (listed on lease) may vie for the position, provided they meet the following criteria:
a. Are at least 18 years of age or older,
b. Meet requirements of by-laws,
c. Have not been convicted of a felony,
d. Have good rent-paying habits for at least one year
e. Submit to criminal background check.
(2) Registration forms are available in the housing manager's office in each community.
(3) The resident council shall use an independent third party to oversee elections and recall procedures.
(4) There will be an orientation to disseminate pertinent information on the functions and responsibilities of resident council officers,
(5) Elections will be conducted in the St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix Districts. Residents must vote in their own community. Any adult member of the household 18 years or older may vote.
(6) Each resident council shall adopt and issue election and recall procedures in their by-laws. The election procedures will include qualifications to run for office, frequency of elections, procedures for recall, and term limits if desired.
(7) Resident council officers shall include qualifications to run for office, frequency of elections, procedures for recall and term limits if desired.
(8) All voting members of the resident community will be given sufficient notice (at least 30 days) for nomination and election. The notice will include a description of election procedures, eligibility requirement and dates of nominations and elections.
(9) The resident council must have a democratically elected governing board that is elected by the voting membership. At a minimum, the governing board will consist of five elected board members. The voting membership will consist of heads of households (any age) and other residents at least 18 years of age or older and whose name appears on a lease for the unit in the public housing that the resident council represents.
(10) The Housing Authority shall monitor the resident council election process and shall establish a procedure to appeal any adverse decision relating to failure to satisfy HUD minimum standards. Such appeal shall be submitted to a jointly selected third-party arbitrator at the local level. If costs are incurred by using a third-party arbitrator; then such costs should be paid from the Housing Authority resident services funds pursuant to 24 Code of Federal Regulations 964.150.
(11) Each candidate reserves the right to challenge election results. A challenge must be submitted in writing addressed and settled by VIHA within five working days of receipt of notice.
(12) If the resident council fails to satisfy U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department minimum standards for fair and frequent elections, or fails to follow its own election procedures as adopted, HUD shall require the Housing Authority to withdraw recognition of the resident council and to withhold resident services funds and funds provided in conjunction with services rendered for resident participation in public housing.
The elections will be held in accordance with 24 CFR 964.130, according to the release.
For information about the election or the election process, contact Jennifer I. Lettsome-Tuckett on St. Thomas at 777-8442, Ext. 7396, Jean Nesbitt-Matthew on St. Croix at 778-8442, Ext. 2365, or the community services specialist in your respective community.

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