The City of New Albany, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the New Albany Housing Authority are working together to improve conditions for residents. Here are some of the recent steps taken towards improving medical services, building conditions, and resources available for public housing.
Wellness Center and Medical Office coming to NAHA
At a recent New Albany Housing Authority Board meeting, the board began the process of establishing two new health and wellness focused programs and facilities.
A wellness center will be constructed in the Riverview Tower (500 Scribner Drive), and will be staffed through a continued partnership with Indiana University Southeast. Nursing students will work with residents to learn about healthy living, in addition to helping early detection of illnesses in residents. Nursing students will be given real-world experience, and residents will have the opportunity to learn more about their health and wellbeing.
In the Brown Starks Building, a medical doctor’s office that focuses on general practice and pediatrics will be added through a partnership with Lifespring. In addition to medical staff, a therapist and group therapy room will be available for residents as well, helping improve both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Mayor Gahan praised the initiatives that will focus on the health and well-being of NAHA residents.
“These quality of life improvements will bring much needed health services to both children and adults. Special thanks to IUS, Lifespring, Hope Southern Indiana, and other partners for their support,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.
NAHA Properties undergo Physical Needs Assessment
In May of this year, inspectors visited Parkview Tower and found numerous instances of both mold and roof leaks in the property. These issues were found in common areas, such as stairwells, as well as inside units. Other properties were found to have roof leaks, broken cast iron, massively clogged drain pipes, un-maintained playground equipment for children, and more issues.
In order to get a full and comprehensive account of the conditions of NAHA properties, the Housing Authority Board voted recently in favor of a Physical Needs Assessment. The assessment will detail physical conditions of each unit, including structural assessment, building systems and components inspections (HVAC, Plumbing, electrical systems, etc.), mold detection, air quality assessments, and other items that will give a detailed look at the conditions of all properties operated by the New Albany Housing Authority.
New Albany Police Department Assigns Resource Officer to NAHA Properties
A full-time, uniformed police officer has been assigned to the New Albany Housing Authority. The New Albany Housing Authority Resource Officer will be on site to help keep residents safe, but will also provide counseling and community building efforts.
Mayor Gahan Addresses Concerns of Residents
"In no way will anyone living in New Albany Housing Authority properties be made homeless through these efforts.
In cooperation with HUD, the City of New Albany and the New Albany Housing Authority are working together on a 10-year public housing improvement plan.
The New Albany Housing Authority is facing a $138 million maintenance cost shortfall since 2010, similar to other housing authorities across the nation. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there is a $26 billion backlog of public housing capital improvements. Additionally, President Trump’s proposed budget seeks to further reduce HUD funding, putting an even further strain on resources to improve the conditions of public housing.
These financial strains, combined with the extreme density and concentration of public housing units, lack of access to important services, and poor conditions of current properties, are exactly why we need to develop a new, sustainable plan for public housing in our community.
I have met with and discussed the challenges facing public housing with officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, NAHA residents, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission, the Salvation Army, Southern Indiana Housing Initiative (SIHI), Hope Services, state officials, the Governor, and others.
The city and Housing Authority’s plan is being developed with the best current thinking in national housing policy, and will utilize a mix of housing vouchers and newly constructed units in mixed-income developments. This will help lower the concentration and density of public housing, and will give those who need assistance better access to transportation, jobs, and other important services.
I am very excited about the opportunity we have to improve our public housing inventory in New Albany. There is no quick fix, but our new plan will be fair to all residents and it will result in a better residential experience than we have today." - Mayor Jeff Gahan
Recent Timeline of NAHA Events and Additional Info
April, 2016 - In April of last year, the City of New Albany entered into a contractual agreement with Patrick Costigan and CF Housing Group, headquartered in Washington, DC to assist the New Albany Housing Authority in planning a strategy to meet the capital maintenance needs of the public housing authority. As part of this process, along with the creation of an updated comprehensive plan for the city, recommendations have been made for a reduction in overall housing authority units. The new comprehensive plan calls for a reduction of units, along with a decentralization of current units in New Albany.
January 4th, 2017 - The City of New Albany detailed the partnership between CF Housing Group, the City of New Albany, and the New Albany Housing Authority. New Housing Authority board members are appointed.“This marks the beginning steps the City of New Albany and the New Albany Housing Authority will be taking to improve public housing. In conjunction with the comprehensive plan and the recommendation of CF Housing Group, we will reduce the density of public housing on HUD properties inside the city limits, improve existing public housing stock, and improve the quality of life for all residents,” stated Mayor Gahan, January 4th, 2017.
- January 25th, 2017 - New Comprehensive Plan moves to City Council, and is unanimously approved by the Council. The plan details goals for the decentralization and modernization of public housing units.
- April 24th, 2017 - New Albany Housing Authority Board passes the Memorandum of Understanding.
- June 12th, 2017 - NAHA Maintenance issues brought to attention of Mayor Gahan