Discussions Underway Concerning Public Housing

Over the last several years, the City of New Albany has been analyzing the local public and private housing inventory and needs of the community.  Just recently, Mayor Gahan and his staff worked with the New Albany City Council to develop and pass legislation requiring rental units to be registered within the City limits.  However, the existing stock of public housing also needed to be examined.  During this review process several areas of concern arose:

 The facade of a public housing unit in New Albany.

The facade of a public housing unit in New Albany.

1.    The current physical condition of our public housing units is in need of improvement, with estimates for such repairs being nearly $138 million.
 Tarps cover the roof at a public housing unit in New Albany.

Tarps cover the roof at a public housing unit in New Albany.

2.    The current concentration of public housing units is too high and their proximity to each other is too close. According to officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New Albany has a very high number of public housing units (nearly 1100), especially for a city with a population of only about 38,000.
3.    The residents of the New Albany community deserve to live in healthy neighborhoods with access to quality education, job opportunities, reliable transportation, and other amenities.

What is the City of New Albany doing to help?

It is the City’s intention to begin the process of addressing these concerns in order to bring a higher quality of life to the residents and the community.  

First, Mayor Gahan brought these concerns to the New Albany Housing Authority Commissioners and the Director.  He has met with the Commissioners and Director on several occasions to discuss the current state of public housing and a vision for the future.  Then, with assistance from Senator Joe Donnelly’s office, Mayor Gahan and other city officials traveled to Indianapolis to meet with officials from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.  The Mayor and his staff along with the various officials discussed the areas of concern and began to develop a plan to address these issues.  In order to ensure proper requirements are met to address the concerns, the City retained public housing experts from Faegre Baker Daniels who have experience in dealing with HUD to help develop strategies to move forward.

“We are committed to working with the New Albany Housing Authority Commissioners and Director in order to develop a long-term plan and strategy for public housing – one which invests and preserves some crucial public housing units, reduces density by moving to a more scattered site model as adopted by HUD, and assesses our ability to provide and maintain current levels of quality public housing units,” stated Mayor Gahan.