Underwood demolition moved up

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The Augusta Housing Authority is seeking permission from federal authorities to rid the city of a second public housing project, part of a strategy to break up warehoused poverty and integrate the poor into middle-class neighborhoods.

Director of Resident Services Buddy Oldfield told Underwood Homes residents Wednesday that an application to demolish the complex off Sand Bar Ferry Road will be submitted within the next two weeks to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A response should take three to four months, he said.

No one seems happier at the prospect of razing the 38-year-old buildings than the residents, who will be moved to other projects or given Section 8 vouchers to live in rental homes. The 90 or so people gathered in the community center twice applauded when Mr. Oldfield asked how they felt about tearing down Underwood Homes.

Like Gilbert Manor -- shuttered and sold to Medical College of Georgia -- Underwood is outdated. Built as private apartments, it was instead sold to the housing authority. Its units lack central heating and air conditioning.

"It won't take much to demolish Underwood Homes," said Planning and Development Director Richard Arfman, who wasn't at the meeting. "It's very poorly built."

Of 249 units, 192 are occupied. The housing authority has been reducing the number through attrition, Mr. Arfman said.

Mr. Oldfield said that the HUD application should be "a slam dunk." The more pivotal, less certain, application will be one for low-income housing tax credits due to the state Department of Community Affairs in May.

That decision will determine whether the plan moves forward, because the authority needs tax credits to replace Underwood Homes with its first mixed-income community, where public housing-eligible families would live side-by-side with residents paying market rates.

It's an experiment that's seen mixed results in other cities, but the authority is banking on an advantage from the site's proximity to the Savannah River. The authority selected Atlanta's Walton Communities as developer.

Under the authority's time line, demolition of Underwood Homes would start in early 2010.

In Atlanta, advocates for the homeless have alleged that, before it demolishes projects, the Atlanta Housing Authority cuts down on relocation expenses by ejecting as many tenants as it can through aggressive enforcement of lease agreements. An Underwood Homes woman accused the Augusta Housing Authority of doing just that Wednesday, telling Mr. Oldfield she's facing eviction for unpaid utility bills.

Mr. Oldfield assured her it has nothing to do with the planned elimination of the complex.

If all goes well with the two applications, Mr. Oldfield said, residents should start getting letters late this summer telling them they have 90 days to move. The housing authority will cover moving costs and provide boxes, and, as with the Gilbert Manor relocation, be very flexible with the 90-day deadline, he said.

"We will try to put you where you wanna' go, what's best for you," he said. "We're not gonna' do you wrong. We're not gonna' throw you out on the street."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S AHEAD

Last summer, Augusta Housing Authority Director Jacob Oglesby said demolition of Underwood Homes was at least five years away, but it has been bumped up to 2010. At a July meeting, residents were told the replacement mixed-income community would be built in phases as sections of Underwood are closed, but Director of Resident Services Buddy Oldfield said Wednesday the development will be done in "one swoop."

The time line:

WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS: Submit an application to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to raze Underwood Homes

MAY: Submit an application to the state Department of Community Affairs for tax credits so the authority and developer Walton Communities can build its replacement

LATE SUMMER: If both applications have been approved, begin moving residents to other projects or to rental homes using Section 8 vouchers

EARLY 2010: Raze Underwood Homes

Comments (43) Add comment
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iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 01/22/09 - 08:19 am
0
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Where will the cancer spread?

Where will the cancer spread?

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 01/22/09 - 08:22 am
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they need to submit an

they need to submit an application to close all housing projects...no where in the federal or state constitution is public housing guaranteed or designated as a right. its time to get a job

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/22/09 - 08:34 am
0
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Please share this with

Please share this with everyone that you know: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 01/22/09 - 08:44 am
0
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Augustas' biggest industry is

Augustas' biggest industry is welfare/section 8 housing. It's by products are crime, poverty and ignorance. People who do not work for what they have do not appreciate it, not do they respect those around them.

Rick_White_For_AHA
0
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Rick_White_For_AHA 01/22/09 - 09:01 am
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You wrote that housing

You wrote that housing advocates allege AHA manipulates housing policies to reduce family relocation costs.

This claim is categorically incorrect, as Atlanta Housing Authority lease enforcement policies are consistent across the board. In fact, AHA hires private, professional management companies to manage all of its real estate.

It is our position that subsidized housing is a privilege made available by taxpayers for the purpose of temporarily helping low-income working families (and on a longer-term for disabled persons and senior citizens). AHA does not apologize for its clear lease requirements, including work requirements for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 64. When we instituted a work requirement policy, roughly 20-percent of all adults receiving the subsidy were employed. Today, approximately 80-percent of all households are in compliance with our policies. Furthermore, in recent customer surveys, roughly 90-percent of the affected residents support AHA’s relocation policies.

These so-called advocates your story eluded to are either uninformed or refuse to accept the facts as they are.

Brad Owens
4906
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Brad Owens 01/22/09 - 09:14 am
0
0
Close them all and help get

Close them all and help get these people OUT of these crime pits of misery.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 01/22/09 - 09:17 am
0
0
"integrate the poor into

"integrate the poor into middle-class neighborhoods." There goes the neighborhood. Who will win this war on crime, the law-abiding decent homeowners that already reside in the neighborhoods or the new folks moving in that have no conception of decency or abiding by the law? They need to keep Underwood & fence-it-in for the overcrowded jail.

icanusethat
0
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icanusethat 01/22/09 - 09:50 am
0
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i strongly disagree with this

i strongly disagree with this my ex wife rented out our house that we redid and the house is on the ground now.as a home owner pls do not rent to section 8 if you have a nice house.

FRa9aB3t
0
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FRa9aB3t 01/22/09 - 09:51 am
0
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this should not be allowed to

this should not be allowed to happen - the lazy people should get a job or 2 or 3 and get themselves out of this situation. why are we allowing them to live in these for so long? this is why augusta cannot and will not ever move forward - just keep these people out of columbia county

Paying Resident
0
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Paying Resident 01/22/09 - 10:18 am
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Look out Woodlake Neighbors!

Look out Woodlake Neighbors! Do you see how it is easy for the government to tear down the project and turn our neighborhood into one in the making. Section 8 is a good concept but not a long term fix. No one is making the renter or the land lord accountable for the homes in the neighborhood. Everyone needs a helping hand but take it and do something good with it. And with no transit out there and crime rising Thanks Very Much!

magic
0
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magic 01/22/09 - 10:31 am
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Paying Resident you are

Paying Resident you are correct. Soon Woodlake and Pepperridge will be just like Apple Valley. But you and your neighbors can stop it. Get organized and show your new neighbors that you will not tolerate that type of behavior. Or you can be just like Apple Valley residents and think its ok not to snitch, even when you see drugs being dealt openly, and end up just like them. Also, I'm in favor of tearing down Underwood Apartments. It'll make downtown Augusta a better place.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/22/09 - 10:52 am
0
0
One of the things the AHA

One of the things the AHA lacks is the fact they give the residents a months notice of an inspection, in that time th elandlord cleans up the dog feces dried up white on the floors, gives the dogs to thier neighbors, moves out the boyfriends stuff to the neighbors for the day, moves out the big screen tv and all the other things, and brings the kids home from grandmas which is where they live 90% of the time. And even when its reported you people give them another notice of when the inspection is to check out the claims. You allow these people to snow you!!!! Out of the 200 residents I know of on less than half actually work to improve themselves, appreciate what is being done for them, and live thier life like a normal productive citizen!!! And not even to mention all those who don't work and get housing because of fraudlent SSI claims of depression, my back hurts, etc.... but you can have 3 or 4 more kids after being disabled, but not work at all??? BS!!! and implement drug tests, that would ween out some rif raf. The AHA should be apologizing for that and straightening up thier proceedures, or fighting to get them changed!!!!!

sprintman
0
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sprintman 01/22/09 - 10:55 am
0
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Lol pepperridge and woodlake

Lol pepperridge and woodlake are middle class neighborhoods. And Apple valley dang what is barton village, meadowbrook considered then. Augusta neighborhoods are all lame. Crime is small town down here. Even the projects which the only one's in Augusta are in East Augusta. Are lame too even mobile, and charleston have worst pocket areas than us. But why do ppl continue to think ppl on welfare don't have a job. Because they do.

Painter
24
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Painter 01/22/09 - 11:00 am
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SargentMidTown, you are so

SargentMidTown, you are so right and that article you suggested is great and again everyone needs to read this. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

sprintman
0
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sprintman 01/22/09 - 11:08 am
0
0
I don't think sargent mid

I don't think sargent mid town is correct. When the only public housing in Augusta is on one side of town in East Augusta. Only 16-17% of Augusta city limits are in poverty. Deke wants it to get to 12-13% in the next couple of years.

sprintman
0
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sprintman 01/22/09 - 11:11 am
0
0
Why are so many of people

Why are so many of people from wallstreet, congress, and goverment. Doing federal prison time as we speak. These ppl are millionaires. Look at stacy and lacy peterson both from the suburbs. Not on welfare with 5 kids apeice living in the trailer parks getting high on meth. Both were murdered by their husbands.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/22/09 - 11:29 am
0
0
Here we go again. Step on the

Here we go again. Step on the back on those who are down but not out. My wife and I rent out our second house to a Church member that happens to be on Section 8. We go by at least twice a month unannounced to check on the property. In the three years that we have rented it out, not one single time have we found it in disarray. The key is to monitor your property and at the first hint of trouble step in. The majority of those on Section 8 are good, decent, hardworking people.

devilishlymad67
0
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devilishlymad67 01/22/09 - 11:46 am
0
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If the majority are good

If the majority are good decent hardworking people why are they taking handouts? Why aren't they paying their bills theirself? What are they spending their money on? Drugs? Bling? etc?. I am glad me and mine don't live in a subdivision so I don't have to worry about crime rate or drug deals coming in.

fyafyta390
0
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fyafyta390 01/22/09 - 11:57 am
0
0
HYPOCRITES 08....your

HYPOCRITES 08....your statement is one that fits quite a few situations describing people on Section 8. Homeowners need to monitor your property, show up unannounced and step in when needed. Let your tenants know that you are giving them a "chance" not a "handout". Go over your lease with the tenant, don't just get them to sign it an expect them to read it. Take responsibility for your property and check references. If your property is being damaged blatantly, remove the tenant. IT IS YOUR PROPERTY and renters know this. Some of them (regardless of race) will take advantage of that fact.

sprintman
0
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sprintman 01/22/09 - 11:58 am
0
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devilishlymad67 lets be real.

devilishlymad67 lets be real. Who hires poor people? Come on now lets be honest. Poor people can't afford to buy a suit or a new dress for a interview. So when they walk in with clothes you don't consider up to point. You discriminate against them. If you give them a hand up. Like somebody gave you when they hired you for your first job. They can get of welfare. Devilishlymad67 im sure drugs especially and crime is where you live. Even if you lived in upper middle class areas all your life like me. You can best believe some of your neighbor's are doing crack, meth, cocaine, pills, weed, or something. Cocaine has always been a rich white man's drug.

devilishlymad67
0
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devilishlymad67 01/22/09 - 12:40 pm
0
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LOL you might think so but I

LOL you might think so but I live in a unique area and have been fortunate. But yes people do get a hand up. I know of many people (professionals) who donate their gently used clothing to the salvation army, goodwill, safe homes etc. so there is not a excuse for not wearing proper attire to interviews. My first job? after I worked to get my degree in my late 20's was for an attorney, after I worked for 6 months with no pay.

dani
13
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dani 01/22/09 - 03:43 pm
0
0
I still remember the mess

I still remember the mess that was on Damascus Rd until they razed the buildings. That absolutely must be done with all the projects in the area, they seem to just breed crime.

GeneralMao
0
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GeneralMao 01/22/09 - 03:44 pm
0
0
Oh no there goes the

Oh no there goes the neighborhood. All it takes for a block to hit the gutter is one section 8 hell family. Just one!! What working class neighborhoods are they planning to put these people in. They had better stay the hell away from Goshen.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/22/09 - 04:23 pm
0
0
"Augustas' biggest industry

"Augustas' biggest industry is welfare/section 8 housing. It's by products are crime, poverty and ignorance. People who do not work for what they have do not appreciate it, not do they respect those around them." ----- You're an example of the problem. You don't want to cure it, but make excuses, let alone cop outs. Generational welfare isn't cured overnight, it takes generations to move people from dependence to independence. Your job as a citizen isn't to make excuses about MEMEME, it's to do what's best for the community. These people need to go somewhere, and they need to learn life outside of the projects. They will be in your backyard, as all of this is everyone's problem to fix. Didn't start in a vacuum, and won't end in one.

GeneralMao
0
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GeneralMao 01/22/09 - 04:45 pm
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0
Sandy you idealist fool.

Sandy you idealist fool.

MtnMan
1
Points
MtnMan 01/22/09 - 04:58 pm
0
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...Many years ago I was the

...Many years ago I was the leader in stopping a public housing project proposed for Steven Creek Road...just about where that road crosses the railroad..
Friends of mine from all area of Steven Creek Showed up at that meeting. The people who wanted to build that project looked at us and left !

MtnMan
1
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MtnMan 01/22/09 - 05:08 pm
0
0
....of course all of us had

....of course all of us had seen what these projects had done to other areas...we were not about to let it happen in our backyard.....
Today there are cries to get those folks out of the projects and into a middle class life. HA! just moving doesn't make a person "middle class"...let's face it, most of the crime in East and South Augusta comes from those projects...so now the proposal is to spread crime all over Richmond county.....

jewel
3
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jewel 01/22/09 - 05:10 pm
0
0
Well I sick and tired of

Well I sick and tired of section 8 in my neighborhood. I have two on my street and foster kids galore. My house is paid for and I am getting afraid to stay here, I am a widow. I want to move but who wants to buy near this crap, so you are left to rent and it's to section 8. We did all the right things, then I lost my husband and getting the kids through college and married was my focus. I really waited too long to get out of here and this is what I am faced with. When they close up Underwood, they will spread those street walking, non working dropouts all over the place and it's impossible to sell your house.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 01/22/09 - 07:03 pm
0
0
1. Create a Homeowners

1. Create a Homeowners Assoc.
2. Create and record rules and restrictions to be enforced.
3. Hire an attorney to force compliance in court.

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 01/22/09 - 07:22 pm
0
0
Section 8 has been a problem

Section 8 has been a problem in Harrisburg. There have been section 8 drug houses that the Augusta Housing Authority have ignored. The same section 8 tenant lives at 1711 Walker St. This tenant was party to selling drugs from the first day that she moved herself and her children into 1711 Walker ST. The house has been busted twice in less than six months (this is public record) The last bust involved crack cocaine and pot. If you wish to buy a copy of the report for twenty five cents go to the records department at the Law Enforcement Canter at 401 Walton Way. Ask for case number 200800256342 This woman's children should be removed from this drug underworld environment but DEFAX is as irresponsible as is The Augusta Housing Authority. I guess that these children are being groomed to be the future drug dealers of America. Augusta citizens should be out ragged after reading this verifiable public information. Is this just an taste of things to come from the immoral social programs that Obama will likely endorse? Sadly this situation is common place. Single mothers are notorious to "lay up" with drug dealers, gang member want a bees, thugs and the like: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/

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