Morgan City Housing Authority residents asked to ‘team’ meeting
MORGAN CITY, La. -- The Morgan City Housing Authority asks residents to attend a 5 p.m. Thursday meeting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 331 Wren St., to discuss their roles and responsibilities, Clarence Robinson, interim executive director said.
“This will not be an ordinary meeting and it will not be a bashing session,” Robinson said. “We want ideas. We are all in this together and we have to fight together.”
Robinson, executive director of the Berwick Housing Authority, has been serving as interim director in Morgan City since July 31.
Robinson said the meeting is the first of several planned residents’ meetings to share a vision of where the authority is headed and to establish roles in achieving the goals.
Thursday’s meeting is scheduled for a time when most residents should have no problem attending and he hopes they will care enough to show up, listen, get involved and be part of the team working toward a common goal.
Mayor Frank Grizzaffi, Police Chief Travis Crouch and District 3 Councilman Ron Bias will attend the meeting.
Brownell Homes, where the meeting will be held, is in Bias’ district.
Robinson said the board of commissioner’s members will also be invited.
Grizzaffi said, “The housing authority is not a mayor’s responsibility but the people that live there are my responsibility and I will do all that I can to assist the Morgan City Housing Authority.”
Robinson said he has surveyed the situation in Morgan City and is confident the staff is competent and is able to provide “decent, safe, sanitary housing.”
“I am not too proud to say we need your help,” Robinson said. “Not complaints. We need help. Assistance. Teamwork. … Everybody has to step up.”
While the staff is available to correct many issues, there are things that residents can and should do on their own, Robinson said.
“If you see trash on the grass, should you call that in or should you pick it up yourself?” Robinson asked.
“People have to step up,” he said. “Some residents are doing all they can, but there are a few that need to do more.”
Robinson scrolled through more than a dozen photos on his tablet computer of residences with well-manicured lawns and homes. He said those are typical examples of residents who live in public housing.
“I have examples of the good, the bad and the ugly,” Robinson said.
Bias said, “I think what he is doing is a good thing,” of Robinson’s efforts.
Robinson said, “We have a game plan, but we want to listen to what everybody has to say.”
Crouch said that in addition to attending Thursday’s meeting, he will continue conversations with Robinson on what role his department can play in serving the residents at the city’s four housing projects.
“I am going to sit at the table with (Robinson) and try to work out a plan of what he wants and see what happens,” Crouch said. “Whatever we can do to assist him we will do.”
Since 2010, public housing agencies have lost $3.4 billion in federal funding to operate and maintain public housing developments, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an organization working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families.
Robinson said Congress has not shown an enthusiasm to fund public housing and has reduced funding for assistance vouchers nationally as well as locally. He said this forces housing authorities to think outside of the box as they develop strategies to house the vulnerable segments of society who receive housing assistance.
“If you run out of money, then what do you do?” Robinson asked. “You figure out a way to get it done; you do what you have to do to get things done. But everybody has to get involved.”