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From the Ventura County Star:
"Homeless individuals and previously homeless families will be prioritized as tenants of an affordable housing project set to open at Ventura's Westview Village.
The project is located in west Ventura between Olive and Riverside streets along Barnett, Warner, Flint and Vince streets. Of the 320 affordable units, 20 will be set aside for previously homeless families and five for homeless individuals.
With the former residents accounted for, the project provides enough room to accommodate homeless families and individuals, which wasn't part of the plan when the project was first approved.
The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura determined there was a need to fill in the community. The authority co-developed the complex with San Francisco-based nonprofit developer BRIDGE Housing Corp. The authority is the property manager and service coordinator for the complex.
"It's so clear that it's important to provide shelter for homeless, and it's great we have a shelter in Ventura, but then, where do people go?" Flock said. "That's really the way to address homelessness is to provide housing for people.""
Read the Ventura County Star's article "Homeless families, individuals given priority as tenants of affordable Ventura apartments," featuring the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura.
"Dionna Perez of Paterson said her family’s new home at the rebuilt Riverside Terrace townhouses is so peaceful it feels like they are living out of town.
“It’s way better than how it was,” Perez said, recalling the notorious Fifth Avenue housing project that was demolished 30 months ago. “It’s like a little community now. It’s beautiful.”
The Perez family is one of about 120 who already have moved into the complex, and Paterson Housing Authority officials said they expect the rest of the 246 homes to be occupied by the fall. Perez’s praise was echoed by 10 other residents of the townhouses interviewed recently.
"It's quiet. It's safe for the kids to play. And my neighbors are friendly,” said Nakiya Robinson.
Before demolition, Riverside Terrace had degenerated into a place where shootings and open-air drug dealing took place. City officials say the redevelopment will transform Riverside in much the same way that rebuilding the Alabama Avenue projects did for that neighborhood a decade ago.
Construction is mostly finished on the 165 townhouses and 80-unit senior citizen apartment building, said Irma Gorham, the executive director of the Paterson Housing Authority. Work is still being done on the community center, she said."
Read NorthJersey.com's article "Paterson creates ‘a real community’ at rebuilt Riverside Terrace complex," featuring the Paterson Housing Authority.
Congratulations to the six CLPHA members who received 2022 All-America City (AAC) Awards!
This year, the AAC Award, given by The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) and the National Civic League (NCL), recognizes communities that are committed to improving the prospects for early school success and equitable learning recovery for the hundreds of thousands of children whose families are served by the nation’s public housing agencies and affordable housing organizations. CLPHA is proud that our longstanding partnership with CGLR helped to make housing and housing authorities a focus for this year's awards.
CGLR and NCL recently announced the awards at a virtual ceremony during GLR Week 2022, CGLR’s annual conference. Of the ten winning communities across the nation, six communities’ awards involved CLPHA member housing authorities:
- Barberton, OH (Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority)
- Los Angeles, CA (Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles)
- Louisville, KY (Louisville Metro Housing Authority)
- New Haven, CT (Elm City Communities)
- Sacramento, CA (Sacramento Redevelopment & Housing Agency)
- San Antonio, TX (San Antonio Housing Authority)
Community presentations included pre-recorded videos, virtual skits, and heartfelt stories to bring their projects and communities to life. Community efforts highlighted by the finalists emphasized work around one or more of the following areas of focus:
- Digital equity
- Relational supports
- Afterschool, summer and out-of-school learning opportunities
- Transforming non-school places and spaces into learning-rich environments
- Promoting school readiness, regular attendance and summer learning
- Parents succeeding as essential partners in assuring the healthy development and early school success of their children
- Parents succeeding in their own journey toward sustainable self-sufficiency.
CLPHA congratulates our members and their civic partners on this prestigious honor!
CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative works to elevate the importance of housing-education partnerships that support children’s literacy and education outcomes, and our PHA members have demonstrated an enduring commitment to improving literacy and school readiness for their residents. Through our close collaboration with CGLR, CLPHA was heavily involved in the marketing of this year’s AAC Award opportunity and the recruitment of our members and their cities to apply for this honor.
CLPHA also recognized the AAC Award finalists at our Housing Is Summit, held May 18-19 in Washington, D.C. The Day 2 Summit plenary “Improving Literacy Through Cross-Sector Efforts” featured CGLR, AAC Award Finalist the Housing Authority of Kansas City, MO, and nonprofit Turn the Page KC discussing how a housing authority and local partner are working together to improve literacy outcomes and education skills attainment for low-income children in the Kansas City area.
NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ (second from right) with New York Governor Kathy Hochul (seated), New York City Mayor Eric Adams (front row, fourth from left), and other stakeholders at the signing of NYCHA's Public Housing Preservation Trust legislation. Photo credit: NYCHA
When you arrived at the New York City Housing Authority, what challenges did you encounter?
NYCHA has some of the oldest public housing in the nation – most of our buildings were built more than a half century ago – and we are grappling with more than $40 billion in urgent capital repair needs across the portfolio (a staggering figure that grows by about a billion dollars every year). This is the result of decades of government disinvestment from public housing and many missed cycles of investment in the buildings. And we know too well how aging buildings that haven’t received the investment they’ve needed over the years can impact residents’ quality of life and make our work to maintain and repair them even harder. Almost no repair is routine or simple, as the work needed expands into a much larger and more complex issue requiring skilled trades and multiple work orders – which is not the case with well-invested properties.
When I arrived at NYCHA in 2019 as Chair and CEO, the distressed conditions of the buildings was manifested by an Agreement that the Authority had recently entered into with HUD to address critical areas that most impact residents: lead, mold, heat and elevator services, and pest and waste management. The Agreement also carried with it a mandate to strengthen our organization through a Transformation Plan.
So I came to NYCHA at a very pivotal moment in its 88-year history. Before us was the work to make significant and sweeping changes to comply with the HUD Agreement, transforming key areas and fundamentally changing day-to-day operations to improve the way the Authority does business and improve residents’ quality of life. It is certainly an exciting time to be at NYCHA, with this opportunity to transform our properties as well as our organization.
Tenants' rights advocates were opposed to RAD conversions because they believed that tenant protections would be lost. How did you address their concerns?
PACT (Permanent Affordability Commitment Together) is what we call the implementation of RAD in New York City, and we have worked extensively with residents, advocates, and other community partners to develop the PACT program – always putting residents’ rights first – and to inform the community of the benefits of the program and how residents’ rights will be fully maintained. Sharing information and clear communication about the facts are key. We have a range of printed materials, videos, and web resources to ensure that residents have the latest information about PACT, and we host regular information sessions and meetings about resident rights and protections, the rehabilitation process, and other program elements. All of this information is available in multiple languages and is provided directly to every PACT household. We have also given tours of PACT projects so residents and other stakeholders can see firsthand the benefits of fully renovated homes and speak directly with residents about their positive experiences.
We created a PACT planning process that is transparent and that puts residents at the center of the process, including regarding the repairs and improvements they would like to receive at their developments. Residents are involved in selecting the developers, contractors, property managers, and social service providers that will renovate and maintain their developments. Residents also have the opportunity to review proposals, interview development teams, and help us select the partners best suited to serve their community.
The Blueprint for Change is a sweeping plan to recapitalize NYCHA's housing portfolio and improve living conditions and resident services. Why was such a dramatic proposal necessary?
We are reckoning with the Authority’s greatest existential threat in its history: the compounding effects of more than four decades of government disinvestment from public housing across the nation. With over $40 billion in capital needs, business as usual is not an option. The days of piecemeal fixes – of putting band-aids on our aging, deteriorating buildings – are over. It is also clear that we cannot rely on current funding levels alone to properly maintain our properties. Residents know this reality painfully well, with the near daily cascade of serious issues, from the rooftops to the pipes underground.
We have an opportunity now to turn NYCHA around and ensure it is here to serve New Yorkers for another half century and beyond – to provide residents with safe and healthy homes without the burden of having to deal with ceaseless repairs. Massive portfolio-wide investments not only transform residents’ homes but can also transform their lives: the construction work and implementation of new technologies is a very powerful economic stimulus that generates training and job opportunities for NYCHA families.
Our responsibility is to bring our buildings the investments they so desperately need, as quickly as we can, through initiatives such as the Public Housing Preservation Trust, PACT, and Comprehensive Modernization.
Now that the New York State legislature has adopted the Public Housing Preservation Trust legislation, and the Governor has signed it, what are the next steps?
The signing of the Public Housing Preservation Trust into law by Governor Hochul last month was a big step forward for NYCHA residents and very momentous for the future of public housing, and we are thankful for the support of all those who contributed to this milestone. The Trust gives residents a true voice in the future of their homes, and the updated legislation that passed incorporated feedback from residents that we have gathered over the past few years.
The Trust legislation enables residents to choose whether or not to move forward with the Trust at the developments, which is unprecedented. It also allows residents to be part of the process for selecting vendors to rehabilitate their developments and serve on committees that check the quality of this work. We will now continue engaging with residents, working with them and community partners to establish a model for the Trust, collaborating on details regarding its board, the resident voting process (by law, the draft voting requirements must be published by mid-October and the final voting requirements by mid-December), and other elements that provide a critical platform for residents. We have already begun to establish internal working groups to coordinate these processes. Once the Trust is established, the work to renovate the first 25,000 apartments will begin, which I’ll be thrilled to see.
From New York City Mayor Eric Adams' press release:
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and homeless services nonprofit Project Renewal, today opened the first phase of Bedford Green House — a project that will bring 117 affordable and supportive homes to the Bronx. The project includes 71 apartments set aside for New Yorkers who previously experienced homelessness, families impacted by mental illness and substance use disorder, and people living with HIV/AIDS; with the remaining 46 apartments for low-income households earning up to 60 percent of area median income. Project Renewal is providing on-site wraparound social services, including horticultural therapy utilizing the greenhouse and aquaponic urban farming system on the building’s roof.
“Affordable housing, homelessness, public health, and our environment are all connected, and Project Renewal demonstrates the kind of creative thinking we need to tackle all of them together,” said Mayor Adams. “My administration is laser-focused, not on simply creating housing on paper but on getting New Yorkers into the safe, high-quality, affordable homes they deserve, while helping fight climate change and creating our own nutritious food. We are doing that today in the Bronx at Bedford Green House, and we will continue doing it all across the city.”
“Bedford Green House helps meet our city’s urgent need for supportive and affordable housing and embodies Project Renewal’s mission to empower individuals and families to renew their lives with health, homes, and jobs,” said Eric Rosenbaum, president and CEO, Project Renewal. “More than just an apartment building, Bedford Green House’s design and programming brings residents together, from children to seniors, around shared activities that support healthy living. As we celebrate the opening of this first phase, we look forward to the second phase, bringing more housing and services to more formerly homeless New Yorkers and the wider community.”
“Bedford Green House is what climate and housing justice looks like,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Project Renewal is giving low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers a new outlook on life with the opening of Bedford Green House. This development is a model for housing New Yorkers with dignity, while providing the services needed to live healthy lives. Thanks to Project Renewal, our partners at the city and state, and the entire development team for making this innovative and sustainable project a reality.”