Decatur Housing Authority hires new executive director following years of discrimination claims

Taura Denmon says she wants to put the discrimination issues behind the agency and move into a brighter future
Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - A three-year federal investigation said the Decatur Housing Authority discriminated against black people. Last year, DHA was ordered to pay a $200,000 settlement.

The new executive director, Taura Denmon, says she wants to put that behind the agency and move into a brighter future.

The federal investigation showed the agency had given preferential treatment to white applicants when it came to placement in higher-end apartments. DHA made a commitment to upgrade Westgate Gardens, where those black applicants were offered housing.

“I am familiar with the challenges that DHA has and I understand that the housing authority has put some things in place. We are under a very robust voluntarily compliance agreement with HUD,” said Denmon.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identified discrimination in DHA’s waiting lists, rental policies, and transfer requests. Denmon says she wants to improve tenant relations and increase public outreach.

“We’ve also taken significant steps to help existing tenants become familiar with our properties and to encourage transfers wherever desired,” said Denmon.

Denmon says she wants the public to be comfortable coming to DHA and is excited to now be a part of the staff.

“My goal is to focus on the future and definitely not look back at what has already taken place. We’ve got a lot of work to do, a long road ahead and we’re gonna get there but, I’m focusing on the future,” said Denmon.

Decatur Housing Authority has a zoom board meeting set for May 6. Denmon will be introduced to the community, and there will be time for public comments.

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