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SANFORD, FL-Federal housing officials have named Larry Knightner, a turnaround specialist for 25 years with HUD, to improve 1,000 repair-needed apartments at Sanford Housing Authority’s 12 complexes, about 25 miles north of Downtown Orlando.

HUD seized control of the low-income shelter community Aug. 2 after HUD Secretary Mel Martinez charged Authority officials had shown little progress in the past three years after receiving a total $10 million in federal funds. HUD formally labeled the Sanford Housing Authority a ‘troubled agency’ on April 6, 2001.

Knightner comes to Sanford from South Carolina where he coordinated the state’s Housing Program Center. He will act as a receiver, directing the project’s entire operation, from rent collecting to bill paying to hiring personnel, says HUD Deputy Secretary Michael Liu.

“We are confident this receivership, under Knightner’s leadership, will take the necessary actions to restore stability to the housing authority and see that residents get the services they deserve,” Liu says in a prepared statement.

Martinez promised residents last week they would see “substantial improvement” in apartment repairs by September. About 467 of the 1,000 apartments are occupied.

HUD officials confirm that 16 housing authorities nationwide have been placed into receivership since 1979. The Sanford action was Martinez’s second takeover move since he was appointed in April 2001 by President George W. Bush. Martinez placed the New Orleans housing authority into receivership in late 2001.

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