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Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeNewsLocal governmentVIHFA Engages HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary in Vital Discussions During Two-Day Visit

VIHFA Engages HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary in Vital Discussions During Two-Day Visit

VIHFA Chief of Disaster Recovery Officer Dayna Clendinen engages HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Monterrosa. (Submitted photo)

Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) Interim Executive Director and Chief Disaster Recovery Officer Dayna Clendinen welcomed Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs Claudia Monterrosa on a two-day visit aimed at gaining critical updates on ongoing projects and reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to supporting the territory’s recovery efforts.

Among a series of site visits conducted on Feb. 21 and 22, Monterrosa learned more about the planned construction for Sister Emma Cottage at the Queen Louise Home for Children on St. Croix. This cottage stands as a vital unit, offering intensive 24-hour foster care for those with severe developmental and physical disabilities.

Monterrosa delved into the details of this new construction project, hearing about the proposed plans and fostering discussions on resiliency measures such as backup energy solutions, wind-and-storm safeguards, and flood mitigation features. The dialogue extended to construction logistics, including managing change orders and sourcing unique items like specialized windows. The anticipated completion of this rebuilding is March 2025, about 12 months from its proposed start.

A tour of the ongoing Walter IM Hodge Pavilion rehabilitation — a collaborative effort between the Virgin Islands Housing Authority, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and VIHFA — also offered a firsthand look at the impact of the territory’s recovery efforts as general contractor MDG Design & Construction introduced Darius Alfred — a New York resident with Crucian roots brought back to contribute to the project.

MDG Design & Construction President Michael Rooney noted Alfred’s comprehensive involvement in the rehabilitation, underscoring the transformative nature of collective efforts in rebuilding infrastructure and fostering community renewal.

VIHFA Interim Executive Director Dayna Clendinen engages HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Claudia Monterrosa at the meeting on St. Croix. (Submitted photo)

In additional meetings between HUD, VIHFA and the Office of Disaster Recovery, the agencies discussed program achievements, upcoming projects and grant opportunities, among them the ongoing implementation of HUD’s Mitigation Grant. In her presentation, IED Clendinen highlighted the year’s successes, emphasized shared goals, and outlined priorities. She also spoke about the collaborative efforts to drive results, including conducting education and outreach to subrecipients and contractors; creating and retaining low-to-moderate income jobs through the programs; and supporting projects and investments that will not only meet all local and federal requirements but are also viable.

“In just the past year, we’ve achieved notable successes,” IED Clendinen said. “Our collective vision is intentional, priorities carefully defined, and focus resolutely maintained. Each team member has demonstrated accountability in their respective areas, contributing to the realization of tangible outcomes while also fostering a supportive environment that promotes ongoing training and development.”

Monterrosa and her team expressed enthusiasm for VIHFA’s progress, emphasizing the need for sustainable services and understanding long-term project risks. HUD representatives also offered suggestions for streamlining processes.

“I see you are on the right track, with passion and commitment from your team,” Monterrosa said. “Leadership and collaboration are crucial, and HUD is here to reinforce our support.”

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