November 29, 2017
ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- The Elmira Housing Authority (EHA) is expecting to get financial boost after finding the results of a class action lawsuit they were involved in for years.
"Well, we won!" says Executive Director, James Mirando.
In 2012 , the Elmira Housing Authority had about $400,000 taken from its reserve account to help fund the federal government.
As a result of those depleted funds, the agency suffered in receiving subsidies in later years. Subsidies are typically granted to housing agencies based on a number of different factors, including bond ratings which are partially determined based on reserve funds.
Mirando says EHA was downgraded from a AAA to an A, subsequently awarding EHA with less subsidies.
"Back in 2014, we only got 60%. That's because we had some excess reserves, and the government - at the time, the Secretary of Housing, whose name was Donovan, was looking at ways in order to get in tight with the President and he was trying to cut the
deficit," Mirando says.
That's when EHA entered into a class action lawsuit with hundreds of other New York housing agencies with a firm from Washington, D.C. After years of legal battle, a final decision was in their favor.
"We were looking for approximately $200,000. We're only going to be getting $120,000. Well, $120,000 is better than nothing to be very honest with you! Right now, for the past four years, our subsidies haven't been more than 84%" Mirando explains.
Mirando says the agency is in critical need of those funds for operational and maintenance costs. As far as when EHA will see it reflected in its bank account is yet to be determined.
"We're constantly doing repairs, repairs and repairs. Whatever we get it goes back into the buildings. Our reserves are basically depleted," he says.
"This last communication that I got from the Cohen & Lions Law-firm was back on August 31st, and they told us, 'Send us your bank account number and so forth, we're going to forward you the money'...Well, we haven't seen it yet," Mirando continues.
Mirando explains that at this point and time, it's up to Congress to ensure those funds are given to the Elmira Housing Authority.
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