NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – The New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) and the city’s administration are discussing the future of the area’s public housing options.
NAHA has a current five-year plan, which was developed in 2011, to direct the city’s efforts in public housing from the years 2016-2020. Part of that plan included assessments of different public housing neighborhoods and complexes to see if they should be converted to Section 8 housing or demolished.
Some of those assessments have already been completed.
But concerns are circulating regarding the city’s proposed 10-year plan, which has not been adopted yet. A draft of those plans includes demolishing the current public housing units in order to replace or redevelop them.
According to a press release for the City of New Albany, the mayor’s office and the NAHA have been working “together for months to draft a Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU). This memorandum is commonly referred to as the city’s 10-year plan.
Below is the full copy of the MOU draft:
Mike Hall, a spokesperson for the mayor's office, said in an email, "The MOU recognizes that much of the public housing stock in New Albany is poorly located, does not reflect current thinking and best practices in housing assistance, and is not in good condition."
The MOU calls for the demolition of about 600 units over several years and for the replacement of other units. Hall said there will be "adequate notice and assistance prior to any action" for all existing tenants.
In the MOU, there are a couple of blank spaces under Section 1. Hall explained that is because leaders are not sure how many residents affected by Section 18 will decide to take a Housing Choice Voucher or to move to other NAHA units.
The adoption of the MOU was scheduled to be voted on Monday at 5:30 p.m. during the NAHA’s regularly scheduled meeting. On Monday morning, executive director Bob Lane sent a letter to the mayor’s office requesting to delay the vote until April 10.
Many rumors have been circulating among residents who live in some of the city’s public housing neighborhoods and complexes. Some people heard the apartments would be demolished and not replaced, demolished and replaced with a private parking lot, or demolished and replaced with an upscale private complex.
The Housing Authority taped a letter to every resident’s door to explain the process of the assessments and that they do not need to move right now.
At the NAHA meeting Monday night, the board discussed the budget. According to Hall in an email, NAHA "is facing a $138 million deferred maintenance shortfall since 2010, similar to housing authorities across the nation."
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