LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A multi-generational home is cracking, and not from the eight children who were raised there: Windsor Park neighborhood is sinking.
Clarrisa Lenier and her mother, Annie L. Walker, live in the North Las Vegas community where some streetlights are not functional, and street cracks are plentiful, however, a partial view of the Las Vegas Strip unites neighbors at night.
A larger concern spanning more than two decades here: the remaining homes – roughly 90 between Cartier, Clayton, and Evans – are sinking.
“I’m looking. I’m like, ‘Mom.’ I said, ‘Have you seen the, you know, the crack?’” Lenier said inside her home Wednesday morning, referencing a recently discovered separation of wall and ceiling that spans from their kitchen down an adjoining hallway. “I may not have a million dollars, but I’m still somebody.”
Walker moved into this home in 1967, a time she refers to as unofficial segregation.
“I just don’t think, we as a people have been treated fairly, period,” Walker said, sitting on her couch while discussing the historically black community.
Their story, unfortunately, is not unique. Over 20 years after the neighborhood and its over 200 homes were established, a study found geological faults and an aquifer underneath it. As the aquifer lost water, homes deteriorated, some to the point of demolition.
Other former residents were relocated with federal assistance before their homes were demolished.
While about 90 homes remain sprinkled amongst empty dirt lots, state and federal dollars to help the remaining residents relocate are reportedly difficult to track down.
Those are the sentiments of Democratic Nevada State Senator Dina Neal, who said she’s unsuccessfully attempted to follow the different money sources allocated specifically to this community.
She references 1999 funding: $14 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a Fannie Mae Bond that was supposed to generate $300,000 a year.
“We just know that it’s been generating money from 1999 to current. We’re not clear on how much that is,” Senator Neal said to 8 News Now Wednesday morning. “We’re also not clear on what it was spent on or how it was attached.”
During a Wednesday morning meeting with Windsor Park residents, she assured roughly 20 attendees the account number for the Fannie Mae account is listed in the current budget for the City of North Las Vegas.
This is on top of new funding approved this year. During the 2023 legislative session, SB 450 was approved, which builds new homes of the same size for the remaining residents, pays off their mortgages, and allocates $50,000 in restitution each for taxes, insurance, and moving expenses.
The $37 million allocation is made up of $25 million in COVID-19 relief funds and $12 million of the State General Fund that North Las Vegas would repay over four years. The senator said the $50,000 restitutions would come from the city.
After the bill’s passage, the senator said she contacted the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), which opened an audit of these Windsor Park funds on May 22, 2023, according to Neil.
The most recent update she says was received was this past August when HUD allegedly told her the investigation of how the funds were distributed had turned internal.
“That is currently where we are, is seeking the end result and the resolution to that HUD audit,” Neil said. “We’re moving forward with the $37 million. This is additional money that was in the bill that’s very important to the key elements of how (Windsor Park residents) maintain themselves after the move.”
Back at home, Lenier and Walker watch their crack grow daily and are frustrated more is not being done to put them and their neighbors in better positions.
“I just want North Las Vegas just to be accountable, honestly be accountable for what they should have done, and they didn’t do,” Lenier said, referencing past community meetings with North Las Vegas officials on the matter. “They have not put it into action, and as that old saying goes, ‘actions speak louder than words.’”
“Where is that money? What did you do with that money?” Walker added.
A City of North Las Vegas representative told 8 News Now that they are in full compliance with the law regarding the funds and denies a HUD audit involving them.
Additionally, a statement from the City of North Las Vegas is provided below:
SB450 requires the City to transfer the remaining approximately $2.5 million from the federal funds provided in 1999 to the State. The City is eager to transfer the remaining federal funds to the State and is merely waiting for the State to establish the program, as required by SB450. As soon as the State and the Nevada Housing Division establish the program, the City will transfer the remaining $2.5 million in federal funds to the State, as permitted by federal law.
The Nevada Governor’s Office also told 8 News Now in a statement:
While the division does not have a firm eta for resident relocation, the division is actively engaged with the Uplift Windsor Park Advisory Committee to determine how to best communicate directly with the residents of Windsor Park.
The office added that the new advisory committee, which includes Senator Neil, first met on September 11.