Government Accountability Project Asheville

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Things that seem problematic

Asheville Housing Authority isn’t publicly sharing information on proposed closure of  Head Start programs

In the 5/20/24 and 5/13/24 GAP Reports, we have been expressing concern about the lack of information offered by the Housing Authority for the City of Asheville (HACA). This has sparked significant community concern about the forthcoming termination of leases to Head Start programs in three different public housing buildings.

HACA has not provided the public with any information about the potential elimination of these resources, which are particularly important for Black families. We haven’t understood why HACA hasn’t been more forthcoming with an explanation.

Our Ask

We suggested in the 5/20/24 GAP Report that folks call the Asheville Housing Authority President and CEO and ask her to offer more information on this issue AND the issue of the potential closure of the Southside Community Farm (see our report back on this issue below).

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REPORT BACK STATUS

Unresolved

UPDATE 5/30/24: HACA has still not provided any information to the community regarding this issue. In an article in the Asheville Watchdog by Victoria Ifatusin, HACA President and CEO Monique Pierre rejected the notion that they had any responsibility to inform even the families enrolled in Head Start about what was unfolding.

We are still encouraging folks to take action with us by reaching out to HACA by phone. You can see our suggested talking points and fill out our form to tell us about the action you took at the bottom of our GAP Report for 5/20/24.

UPDATE: 5/22/24 – We haven’t received any official response from the Housing Authority, however an email exchange was forwarded to us within which Terri Anello, HACA’s Procurement and Contracts Manager, confirms what we reported last week: “In order to stay in compliance with HUD and federal regulations, our Agency is required to re-procure contracts every 5 years.” The email goes on: “The current provider is welcome to submit a proposal, and they have been provided with the instructions as well as all the documentation to submit a proposal. Our e-procurement site is linked on our website www.haca.org under the ‘doing business’ tab.”

However, HACA still hasn’t set up a way for community members to view the Request for Proposals (RFP) that Ms. Anello refers to – you have to be a registered vendor in order to view it. We don’t understand why HACA wouldn’t provide a copy of the RFP where anyone could access it. In addition to offering more transparency to the public, such a move would also make it easier to publicize the RFP. (We heard that one reason the deadline for proposals was extended was that very few companies applied.)