New changes on the way for public housing

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 6:17pm

By 2019, all 6,100 public housing units in El Paso will be renovated. 

The project is being completed under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s pilot program called the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
The Housing Authority of the City El Paso said RAD is a much needed program for El Paso.
Currently, the public housing is owned by the federal government, but with RAD, the HACEP said they will become the owners.

“We can now leverage these units like a property management company raise the significant capital with the requirement that we have to reinvest that capital into our public housing units and bring them up to acceptable standards,” said Shane Griffith, spokesperson for HACEP.
The renovations mean new infrastructure, as well as new appliances and AC system.

The renovations will occur in three separate phases. The first phase will include 2053 units. It will start in 2015 and be completed in 2017.

But for the 17,000 people living in public housing, the renovations will mean temporary relocation.
Michelle Gomez was at today’s informational meeting today and said she hopes she is able to stay close to her current location when she has to move temporarily.
She hopes to keep her three children in the same schools, especially because one of her sons is disabled.

“They’ve become very familiar with him over the years and plus he’s going to graduate so I would to hate to have to move where it would inconvenient his school or our travels to school,” Gomez said.

But like most of the residents, she agreed that the renovations are much needed.

“The renovations are going to be beneficial not only to El Paso but to each community. As long as, God willing, we get to stay where it's convenient for each individual family,” Gomez said.

HACEP said individual surveys will be conducted for each of the families, and they will take everything from schooling, disabilities to transportation issues into account.

“We're going to put all of that information into a comprehensive data base to influence and determine where we are going to place those families temporarily,” Griffith said.

The moving expenses will be provided and HACEP said residents will only be in temporary housing for up to 180 days.

For more information, visit the HACEP website.


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