CRHA, Public Housing Residents Meet on Proposed Program
The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority met with its residents Thursday night to discuss a potential change in funding. It was an informational meeting about a rental assistance program the housing authority is considering applying for, Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). The meeting turned out to be a fairly heated discussion because many people say the exact changes it will bring are unclear.
Rad would privatize housing and turn it into a voucher-based program.
"Public housing will be converted to project-based housing. It may have some of the same flavor of public housing but will no longer be under the same regulations and guidelines from HUD and that's a major concern," said Brandon Collins, a member of Charlottesville's Public Housing Association of Residents.
According to the CRHA's executive director Connie Dunn, the authority dropped from operating at a 95 percent budget to only 82 percent this fiscal year. Dunn says if the CRHA applies for RAD, that budget will go back up to 95 percent.
RAD focuses on improving and preserving public housing units, and applying for the program would allow additional funds to come in from tax credits or loans. But some residents are worried about not having a roof over their heads - and feel the CRHA was not able to specifically address their concerns Thursday.
"Every time we ask questions our questions are never answered," said Rosia Parker, who lives in public housing.
Dunn says if RAD is implemented the CRHA will still be in charge and would cover relocation costs - but some are still apprehensive.
"They're moving very fast on this and it is probably the biggest decision to affect public housing in Charlottesville since Vinegar Hill and it would change public housing for the future," Collins said.
Many say applying for the program is premature, especially with all the unanswered questions.
"Yeah it would be good but we would really need to be educated to understand that right now our housing is at stake," Parker said.
No one from the CRHA board was in attendance at Thursday's meeting. Residents say they hope the board members will make an effort to attend future meetings because they are also a big part of the puzzle.
The deadline to apply for RAD is December 31.
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