Augusta bucks national public housing trend

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Public housing across the nation is falling further into disrepair, but an aggressive modernization program in Augusta has kept local public housing in good condition.

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A park is being built at Olmstead Homes, a 255-unit public housing complex in Harrisburg. Olmstead Homes was gutted and modernized two years ago. Grant and stimulus money have been used to keep Augusta's public housing in good condition.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
A park is being built at Olmstead Homes, a 255-unit public housing complex in Harrisburg. Olmstead Homes was gutted and modernized two years ago. Grant and stimulus money have been used to keep Augusta's public housing in good condition.

The nation's public housing system -- which provides affordable living for low-income families, the disabled and the elderly -- needs $25.6 billion in repairs, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report said in June.

That averages $23,365 per unit, 6 percent higher than per-unit estimates in 1998, the last time a study was performed.

Also, future repairs will pile up at a rate of $3,155 per year, a 15 percent increase from 1998. Nine percent of the nation's public housing has been demolished during the same period.

"The ... estimate far exceeds our annual budget for these repairs and illustrates why America needs a long-term strategy to address the loss of public housing units annually," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

Richard Arfman, the Augusta Housing Authority's director of planning and development, said things look much better locally.

"We're nowhere near that," he said of the $23,365 figure.

Two years ago, the authority gutted and modernized Olmstead Homes, a 255-unit complex in Harrisburg. The authority recently finished remodeling interiors for the 228-unit Peabody Apartments on Walton Way.

Of Augusta's other 10 public housing developments, only one needs extensive repairs, Arfman said.

Units at other sites could use an average of $5,000 to $10,000 for repairs to address problems such as energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, improvements to windows and roofs, and better entry security and lighting.

The Augusta Housing Authority, the second-largest housing authority in Georgia, has been able to keep up with repairs because it snagged competitive grant money during the 1990s and early 2000s, Arfmann said.

In 2009, it benefited from $6,000 in stimulus money.

Also, the authority updated buildings by gutting interiors, starting from scratch and bringing everything up to code, rather than by making piecemeal repairs. That has been a cost-effective approach, Arfman said.

Seventy-five percent of Augusta's public housing has been modernized in the past 20 years.

The housing authority has not been immune to all national trends, though. Since 1998, it has lost housing stock -- 528 units from the demolition of Gilbert Manor and Underwood Homes.

The federal government does provide some money to replace what was lost, Arfman said, but the amount won't be enough to pay for the same number of replacement housing units.

Today, designs in public housing are trending toward smaller mixed-income developments, which are expected to produce more stable neighborhoods, Arfman said.

The Augusta Housing Authority is planning more of that type of developments in response to shifting grant availability.

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Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 07/28/11 - 01:37 am
0
0
"Public housing across the

"Public housing across the nation is falling further into disrepair" - God forbid if those living in their free or greatly reduced government housing paid for by the working taxpayers were to actually A) Keep their housing areas clean, B) Have volunteer clean up and repair days, C) Fully and properly respect the property to begin with -- but, then again, most people don't respect that which they don't have to work for, pay for, repair or keep up.

Visit most ANY of the Augusta Housing Authority units and you will see plenty of able bodied men sitting around drinking, smoking, talking on cell phones, etc. - so, while they apparently have the money they need for many non-essential items, they don't have money for food, housing, or to properly take care of their children without many government subsidies and tax credit checks.

We MUST do away with this enabling system for those that can take care of their selves. I certainly understand helping the elderly and the handicapped but the rest, many whom have lived in government housing for many years, need to learn personal responsibility and accountability and so do their children. We need to break the cycle of government dependence because the government does not have any money that it doesn't take from someone else.

At the VERY LEAST, those living in these housing projects should be held responsbile for various neighborhood duties such as keeping the common areas clean, well lit, grass cut, painted, etc.

NoHayManera
140
Points
NoHayManera 07/28/11 - 02:17 am
0
0
@ Asitisinaug: D) Sign

@ Asitisinaug: D) Sign permanent consent to search agreements for the residence as soon government housing is applied for. If our military men and women are susceptible to "surprise inspections" of their barracks rooms, then why can't the same standard be maintained for government housing?

Riverman1
84008
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Riverman1 07/28/11 - 04:58 am
0
0
Apparently, Augusta has a

Apparently, Augusta has a well run program for public housing. They should be applauded. There must be a change going on nationwide to get away from public housing projects and move the people into Section 8 housing scattered throughout the county. So the Peabody is now public housing?

procyon7
0
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procyon7 07/28/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
Asitisinaug: You don't

Asitisinaug: You don't understand how it works. The democrats intentionally keep it this way. They need votes to remain in power and by keeping these people dependent on the govt; they know they'll continue to get the votes.

It's really sad how they loyally support those who keep them living in those conditions. The last thing democrats want to see is that class of people succeeding and becoming productive members of society; for then they'll stop voting democrat.

itsfinallyfriday
0
Points
itsfinallyfriday 07/28/11 - 07:58 am
0
0
I am happy for the few people

I am happy for the few people that really need help who now have a nicer place to call home, Stories like this make me proud of Augusta. !

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 07/28/11 - 10:06 am
0
0
there is something wrong with
Unpublished

there is something wrong with this story.....(.just can't put my finger on that elephant.)...........lol

happychimer
17615
Points
happychimer 07/28/11 - 10:27 am
0
0
When Mama lived at Peabody

When Mama lived at Peabody Apts. all the tenants were seniors except for one young man who was blind. Mama paid rent based on her SS.She loved her independence, and she lived alone as long as she could

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/28/11 - 10:37 am
0
0
Does anyone else think Public

Does anyone else think Public housing concentrates the criminals from all over the 2 state area right here in Augusta? Has anyone noticed that over 90% of the public housing employees are ONLY from the 60% segment of society? Since that segment is no longer a minority why are they still getting minority paychecks? Where's our EBT cards and all the other free stuff now that the rest of U.S. are the minority? NONE of our other segments of society need housing? Some people work for a living... PUBLIC HOUSING VOTES FOR A LIVING. These are bribes for votes. When are the authorites going to crack down on all this vote buying? All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 07/28/11 - 10:59 am
0
0
CRRT asks: "Does anyone else

CRRT asks: "Does anyone else think Public housing concentrates the criminals from all over the 2 state area right here in Augusta?"

It is a fact that people who are happy existing on the dole do migrate to the areas with the best benefits. Whether Augusta fits that bill, I don't know.
A long time back we had this same discussion on the old forums, and one thought was to totally eliminate public housing projects and issue vouchers to those who qualify to find a roof wherever they desire. That means the low lifes who find refuge in public housing would get dispersed all over the local area rather than being concentrated in one place.
Which would you rather? Have them all in one snakepit or scattered around wher ethey aren't concentrated in one spot?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 07/28/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
$23,365 in needed repairs per

$23,365 in needed repairs per unit? ($25.6 billion means there are over 1 MILLION of these units nationwide - heaven help us)

What in the world are the residents doing to these places?! Clearly there is a total lack of respect for the homes that I am paying for. I think they should wallow in their own misery or fix them themselves. Beggars can't be choosers.

Beyond this issue, "public" housing is an outrage. There is no excuse for not being able to provide for yourself in the land of opportunity. If you can't afford to live alone, for whatever reason, then live with family. If family doesn't want you then make some friends & live with them. If no one wants you - then you've got issues.

Welcome to the Nanny States of America. We are doomed if this is allowed to continue.

follower
59
Points
follower 07/28/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
Crime, there's a problem

Crime, there's a problem though. Good men and women want to do something, but are outnumbered. When you add the percentage of folks on the public dole and the number of bleeding hearts, presto, you have a majority. That majority overrules the number that believe in personal responsibility, integrity, honor, character, and self reliance.

The bleeding hearts believe they are being compassionate, and the takers are deluded into believing they are somehow entitled to that compassion. And their stranglehold on the majority seems to be increasing.

The "takers" have been handcuffed and don't even realize it. They've basically submitted themselves to slavery, and government is their master.

fiscallyresponsible
141
Points
fiscallyresponsible 07/28/11 - 11:10 am
0
0
"When you add the percentage

"When you add the percentage of folks on the public dole and the number of bleeding hearts, presto, you have a majority"

Sadly follower, you are 100% correct. What a sad state of affairs that we might never recover from.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/28/11 - 12:34 pm
0
0
Vito wrote; "Which would you

Vito wrote;
"Which would you rather? Have them all in one snakepit or scattered around where they aren't concentrated in one spot?"

As usual Vito asks the right question. What say ye Augusta? Have them concentrated in one spot or spread them out? It's a VERY good question. Those with the most experience in this seem to want them in one spot. Why do those from all over the 2 state area have to be concentrated in our biz district? NO Ball Field can be built this close to all this crime without attractive nuisance lawsuits toting the city treasury off. Have the big dogs shot themselves in their own foot?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/28/11 - 12:58 pm
0
0
when most other cities are

when most other cities are getting rid of public housing projects, Augusta is going in the other direction. Not the first time Augusta did things backwards

fiscallyresponsible
141
Points
fiscallyresponsible 07/28/11 - 01:25 pm
0
0
"Which would you rather? Have

"Which would you rather? Have them all in one snakepit or scattered around where they aren't concentrated in one spot?"

First of all, I'd prefer not to have them living off hardworking Americans efforts at all. If we are forced into it by our commrades in the government, then putting them all in one spot makes more sense for many reasons which I'll not go in to for fear of upsetting the bleeding hearts.

Here in Augusta we are so very special. We have the privilege of having it both ways - concentrated in one spot and spread out like all over the place. Yipee!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/28/11 - 01:26 pm
0
0
The city of Augusta

The city of Augusta demolished both Gilbert Manor and Underwood Homes.. I'm positive Cherry Tree aka Sunset or Dogwood Terrace aka Southside won't be around too much longer.. The $112 million dental school opens soon on the Gilbert Manor property.. The $30 million Walton Oaks((mixed-income) is under construction at the former Underwood Homes proprety..

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/28/11 - 01:36 pm
0
0
Augusta demolished both

Augusta demolished both Gilbert Manor and Underwood homes recently.. Cherry Tree aka Sunset and Dogwood Terrace aka Southside will be demolished in the future.. The $112 million dental school opns soon on the Gilbert Manor property and the $30 million Walton Oaks is underway on the former Underwood Homes property.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/28/11 - 01:34 pm
0
0
The $112 million dental

The $112 million dental school opens soon on the Gilbert Manor property and the $30 million Walton Oaks(mixed-income) is underway on the former Underwood Homes property.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/28/11 - 01:38 pm
0
0
Augusta recently demolished

Augusta recently demolished Gilbert Manor and Underwood Homes.. I'm positive Cherry Tree aka Sunset or Dogwood Terrace aka Southside won't be around too much longer...

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/28/11 - 01:42 pm
0
0
Atlanta has done away with
Unpublished

Atlanta has done away with their housing projects. They were one of the leaders back in the day when housing projects were being built but eventually realized the downfalls and has worked dilligently to get rid of all the projects inside the city.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/28/11 - 03:01 pm
0
0
Stop letting them reproduce
Unpublished

Stop letting them reproduce and creating more people dependant on public housing!!! The savings would pay for the repairs. That cheap one or 2 bedroom turns into the need for a 4 bedroom house because the number of kids they have multiply while they never work a day in their life!! Then their kids have kids under the same circumstances and so on!! It never ends, they hand down the secrets of the government freebies while not having to work a single day like a sacred family tradition.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/28/11 - 03:12 pm
0
0
For the most part, it is the
Unpublished

For the most part, it is the tenants themselves that take perfectly good units and destroy them!!! Why repair then if they have no pride in themselves or where or how they live?? Why should working peoples money go to condoning this bad behavior??

Amen to most of the posters here for having common sense, I wish the bleeding hearts had just a little!!! It kills me how proud the AHA and its ilk is over our housing situation. Its booming, costing working people, generating more crime.... and they want even more. If the AHA actually did their job and did random inspections, over half of these people wouldn't have their housing anymore!!!!! What do you think when you give a months notice on an inspection, of course they move the boyfriends out and the kids back in, move the new tv's out, get rid of the drugs, have their landlord paint over their kids graffiti, clean the carpets, and clean up for the first time in 6 months, old ladies moving out their 4 grown grand kids they been letting live there after prison the day before the inspection, etc...!! If on the public dole, surprise inspections should be the way. Sickening.

allhans
23651
Points
allhans 07/28/11 - 03:19 pm
0
0
.Will the park at Olmstead

.Will the park at Olmstead Homes be another place for the wrong element to "hang-out"?

It seems I have heard complaints in the past about parks that have been taken over, but I could be wrong.

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