HUD takes over and installs a Virginia firm to manage Kansas City's troubled Parade Park Homes
The cooperative faces threats of foreclosure and the displacement of residents from the affordable housing complex.
After decades of neglect and decay amid turmoil among the management of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned housing cooperatives, Parade Park Homes has been taken under federal control.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a letter to residents on Monday saying that it needed to take over to “ensure resident safety and stabilize the property.”
HUD doesn’t own the property. Rather, it’s a housing co-op where residents are part owners of a nonprofit corporation that owns the property. It's run by a self-governing board. A HUD inspection in February found the living conditions so bad that the agency ruled the co-op had violated its regulatory agreement. That put the complex at risk of default and foreclosure.
In an email, a HUD spokesman said the agency’s management had told residents about the takeover and that it was working to remedy “health and safety issues.”
The notice to residents said they needed to certify their leases within 10 business days.
On Sept. 30, management company Gershman Mortgage of St. Louis said it planned to accelerate a loan for the 510-unit property on 15th Terrace near the 18th and Vine District.
This week, HUD told residents that a Virginia real estate firm, Leumas Residential, LLC, would run the housing cooperative. Leumas has managed other federal housing properties for more than five years.
Leumas will control the property’s financial accounts and mandatory inspections will be completed by Thursday, HUD said.
Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted a pledge to help HUD turn around the conditions at the housing complex.
“Kansas City will work closely with HUD to ensure the safety and health of residents and the long-term viability of Parade Park as an affordable community in the core of our city,” he tweeted on Monday.
Debra Williams, who’s lived in Parade Park since 2015, said the change in management brings hope after years of uncertainty.
“I hope it’s to step in the right direction for Parade Park Homes,” she said. “I like to stay here and retire. That was always my goal. … I'm hoping it is a positive outcome for Parade Park.”
The fractious management of recent years led to an exodus from the affordable housing co-op, with people worried that Parade Park’s troubled finances could lead to their eviction, Williams said.
She estimated that perhaps two-thirds of the units are now vacant.
“People have been leaving weekly for fear of being foreclosed on and not knowing what the situation was,” Williams said. “So, they just left.”
HUD said it would hold meetings with residents in the next two weeks to field questions and get input.