Feds take over Dade housing, meet leaders
With a pointed welcome from local activists, federal officials took over Miami-Dade County's scandal-plagued housing agency.
Posted on Sat, Oct. 27, 2007
BY MATTHEW I. PINZUR
Striking a cooperative, deliberate tone on Friday, federal housing leaders officially took control of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency -- and unexpectedly received an ominous welcome note from activists.
''Welcome to the neighborhood,'' the card announced in bold, blue marker. ``Respect your neighbors.''
A small group of organizers delivered the oversized greeting card by interrupting a morning meeting between senior staff from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the local housing agency.
''We just want to give them a gentle reminder that they're new in town,'' said Aiyeshia Hudson, an organizer with the Miami Workers Center, one of the activist groups.
One of the nation's top public housing administrators, HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera, quickly thanked the group. Later, the executive who will run day-to-day operations said he is willing to meet with the activists. ''We want to listen to what they have to say,'' said Donald ''D.J.'' LaVoy, a retired Marine and veteran HUD administrator.
During a 90-minute meeting with housing agency workers, ''We said a little and listened a lot,'' Cabrera said.