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New Jersey Public Housing Authorities Convene to Discuss New Reporting and Compliance Measures Implemented by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

In response to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) planning report issued in July 2014, public housing authorities are gearing up for proposed changes.

In New Jersey, a small but agile agency has taken a proactive approach on financial responsibility by hosting its own financial discussion on HUD's new Section 8 rules. The purpose of the meeting was to help fortify the understanding of critical issues revolving public housing agencies in order to maximize revenue for programming.

The Housing Authority for the City of Orange (HACO) accommodated more than a dozen public housing officials at their Walter G. Alexander Complex on Monday, April 13 to prepare for the changes.

Public housing authorities from across New Jersey participated in the event, including Bayonne, Clementon, Irvington, Paterson, Pleasantville, Union County, West Orange and Woodbridge.

Brian D. Alten, Director of BDO PHA Finance, provided clarity and tips, as well as education on the new regulatory changes for Housing Choice Vouchers, which allow low-income families to choose their own affordable privately-owned rental housing.

Some additional topics included eligible and ineligible uses for Unrestricted Net Position (UNP) and tools to understand the new Section 8 rules and regulations.

OHA is a nimble agency for a two-mile city of 30,000 residents. OHA offers 250 residences, 642 Section 8 vouchers, 114 tax credit units and is constructing 42 more housing units. The City of Orange Housing Authority (OHA) embraces a progressive mission beyond offering safe and affordable housing to families and seniors.

To learn more, visit www.haconj.org

Authorities Investigating Possible Carbon Monoxide Deaths

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Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that the Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating two possible carbon monoxide deaths.
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Orange Council to Vote on YWCA Lease-Purchase

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City elders - from both the administrative and legislative sides - will have posted a legal notice for a special meeting on both the 2015 Municipal Budget and a proposed lease-purchase of the Orange YWCA for April 13 by the time you read this.

Willis Edwards III, as Mayor Dwayne Warren's Chief of Staff, and Council President Donna K. Williams, with consent from her Municipal Council colleagues, will start the special meeting with a hearing on leasing the Orange Y with intent to purchase, at City Hall Council Chambers 5 p.m.

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Rosa Parks Community School Celebrates Women’s History Month at Washington Manor

More than 30 children from Rosa Parks Community School, ranging from grades four to seven, performed in tribute to National Women's History Month for seniors at the Washington Manor housing complex this past Tuesday.

Students from the local school in Orange presented a rich and soulful performance of poetry, song and dance. Each selection celebrated women artistry to mesh with this year's theme, "Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives."

Miphilove Milord, a student of Rosa Parks Community School, began the program by reciting the renowned poem by the late author and poet, Maya Angelou, titled Phenomenal Woman. Following the famous words, "phenomenal woman, that's me," Rosa Parks Dance Ensemble performed multiple dance routines. The seniors stood on their feet, clapping to the sounds of the mid-tempo song, "Happy" by singer and producer, Pharrell Williams.

"There are so many women who have helped pave the way for the advancement of today's society," said Dr. Walter D. McNeil, Executive Director of the Orange Housing Authority. "I know first-hand how beneficial women are. The women of the Housing Authority are the backbone of the daily operations, ensuring that all procedures are handled properly."

As the students departed, their performances left seniors and staff members of the Orange Housing Authority touched and inspired.

For more information on upcoming events, please visit the Orange Housing Authority's website at www.haconj.org.

Orange Housing Authority Officials Convene in Washington, D.C. to Promote Policies that Benefit Orange Residents

Pictured left to right: Irvington Housing Director David Brown​; his son, David Allen Brown, Jr.; Orange Housing Commissioners Coram Rhimes, Jr. and Clifford Ross; Orange Housing Director Dr. Walter D. McNeil, Jr.; Elizabeth Housing Commissioner Cristina Pinzon; Orange Housing Commissioner Joseph Juliano; and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.'s Legislative Assistant Jamiyl Peters. The Housing Authority for the City of Orange (HACO) joined hundreds of housing advocates on March 16 for the 2015 National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

Following the federal midterm elections, this year's theme is "Building Communities Together: New Leadership and New Opportunities," marking the beginning of a new era for the 114th Congress.

HACO Executive Director Dr. Walter D. McNeil, Jr. and HACO Board of Commissioners used this opportunity to promote the organization's legislative and regulatory priorities for 2015, to benefit Orange residents.

They met with members from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss public housing programs relating to the overall management and operations of housing authorities, including President Barack Obama's 2016 budget blueprint.

"We're working to revitalize the entire East Ward by creating safer streets, stronger property values, and enhancing streets surrounding public schools," McNeil said. "We need whatever support we can get from our elected leaders in Washington to fulfill our dream."

HACO was part of a New Jersey delegation to Capitol Hill that included representatives of the Elizabeth, Irvington and East Orange housing authorities.

HACO leaders met with representatives of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.'s (NJ-10) office to seek programmatic and administrative funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), public housing programs and Section 8 vouchers.

"Safe and affordable housing is critical for communities to thrive," said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. "Expanding affordable housing options provides struggling families with security and bolsters our economy by connecting consumers to businesses. I am proud to have requested funding for Community Development Block Grants, public housing programs, and Section 8 vouchers. I look forward to continuing to work with the Orange Housing Authority to provide families with greater access to affordable housing."

HACO and Orange Housing Development Corporation (OHDC) are undertaking an unprecedented block-by-block strategy to improve local neighborhoods in the East Ward. Housing officials have assessed each parcel of property, focusing on how any blighted home or abandoned lot can be rejuvenated. Revitalization is evident throughout Oakwood Avenue, Parrow Street, and Central Place.

Learn more at www.haconj.org

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