Two months after being threatened with the withholding of $26 million in U.S. funds, the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development still does not know what immediate effect such action would have on its programs, the department's director admitted yesterday.
Larenzo W. Jacobs Jr., the department director, told the D.C. City Council's housing committee that he just now is having an analysis made of the money situation, and should know the results next week.
It is possible that the department's operating funds may run out afte the first payday next month, Dec. 12, Jacobs said. That would confront about 1,300 department employes with an uncertain financial future.
But the department's head of administration and management, John G. Stone III, testified later that he thinks the department may be able to dip into $19 million in unspent federal funds from prior years to maintain operations. He said he might be overruled by Jacobs or others.
The inquiry into the housing agency's finances was conducted by Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6), the council's housing committee chairman and a persistent critic of Jacobs. Mayor-elect Marion Barry has said he expects to remove Jacobs from the housing job.
An issue is $26 million in community development funds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has earmarked for a long list of housing programs in the city.
On Sept. 22, the HUD Washington area office said it was holding up the money until it receives and approves a satisfactory plan for relocating families displaced by HUD-financed housing programs. A city plan was submitted later, but Jacobs said he had not received official word on it from HUD.
A long delay in releasing the funds would disrupt a long list of housing programs, ranging from rehabilitation and weatherproofing of old dwellings to day care for children and social programs for the elderly. Public housing operations and federally-assisted construction programs, financed separately, would not be affected.