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Getting to know the new South Bend Housing Authority director

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:35 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The former director of the South Bend Housing Authority is in trouble—facing criminal charges of bank and wire fraud.

Turns out, the new director is no stranger to “trouble” herself.

South Bend’s public housing high rise is in such bad need of repair that it may be beyond repair.

It was closed by emergency order and all 114-units have been vacated.

“Well, the options are to rehab the building or to demolish it and build new construction,” said South Bend Housing Authority Director Dr. Catherine Lamberg who has been on the job since January. “The responsibility of this housing authority through the contract with HUD is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing and I can’t honestly say that’s where we are right now.”

So, right now, Dr. Lamberg is working in South Bend. She is an Indianapolis native, who graduated from Indiana State University. She has seen her share of trouble during a 30-year plus career with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that included time in Memphis as the Director of Troubled Agency Recovery for the southern half of the United States.

“I’ve seen housing authorities that are designated troubled that are just very easy to fix, and then I’ve seen housing authorities that are designed trouble that are much worse than what this agency is, If I didn’t think I was able to get this agency out of a troubled status I would have said that at the very beginning and I probably wouldn’t have been here,” Lamberg sad.

In addition to addressing brick and mortar concerns, Lamberg and her team are also focused on solving people problems. “With COVID playing a factor in all of this, you know, a lot of people have been out of work, have health issues, you know, there’s depression,” said Resident Services Director Michael Williams. “I try to formulate a coalition to help service those needs.”

Dr. Lamberg actually retired in 2019 and moved to Florida, only to find herself back at work and back home again in Indiana.

“I looked at it very critically and decided, is this where I am in my life post retirement that I want to do this as a challenge, and I guess I hadn’t shaken it off yet. Taking on a challenge of something that is fixable. "

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