Here’s a shortened version of City Manager Bill Lindsay’s plan to address major concerns at the Richmond Housing Authority.
A series of scathing news reports about Richmond’s public housing developments, particularly the Hacienda, prompted Lindsay’s proposals.
Short term (two weeks to a month)
Every unit in all five of the authority’s properties will be inspected by an independent firm immediately, including the 150-unit Hacienda (built in 1966); the 142-unit Nevin Plaza (1986); the 58-unit Friendship Manor (1976); the 98-unit Triangle Court (1987); and the 102-unit Nystrom Village (1942). During inspections, tenants will be interviewed about the authority’s response to maintenance calls.
The results of the inspections will be reported at a future City Council meeting. The authority will also review whether to hire a new security company.
Medium-term (1 to 3 months)
There will be a focus on whether the Hacienda, which was featured heavily in the critical news report, can be saved at all.
“We will also include in our evaluation whether it would be more cost-effective to relocate tenants and demolish Hacienda,” Lindsay said, adding that relocating tenants “will require significant cooperation from [the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)].”
Long-term (up to 3 years)
There will be an effort by the city to seek $25 million in more federal HUD funding to complete renovation and conversion of Nevin Plaza. The funding would come from HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which provides for conversion of public housing units to long-term Section 8 rental assistance contracts. The $25 million would add to the $13 million in tax credits earmarked for improvements at Triangle Court and the $9 million set aside for Friendship Manor.
“This provides a combined $47 million in funding to improve these properties, in conjunction with the conversion to Section 8 subsidies for tenants, allowing these tenants more housing options,” Lindsay said.
With the funding, conversions of the three properties could be done by 2016.
Additionally, the Nystrom Village is set for a complete redevelopment that will provide for more housing options and make the development more affordable. Conversion of Nystrom Village should be completed by 2017.
“If Hacienda is removed from the public housing mix, which we believe it will be…then all current public housing will be significantly improved and under private management with Section 8-based housing subsidies to tenants in approximately three years,” Lindsay said.
The West County Times offered more information on how Richmond officials responded to these issues.