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Housing Authority Passes $81.5 M Budget

by Allan Appel | Sep 23, 2013 1:43 pm

(7) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Housing

The Essex Townhouses will get a major overhaul, and a plan to raze and rebuild Farnam Courts will move forward, as part of a $81.5 million budget the housing authority approved for fiscal year 2013-2014.

Allan Appel Photo The unanimous vote occurred at the authority’s regular meeting last week at the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) headquarters at 360 Orange St. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The budget includes line items ranging from large expenditures like new buildings, to replacement keys.

HANH Executive Director Karen DuBois-Walton said the budget reflects an ongoing trend of rebuilding housing authority developments from the ground up. The authority has recently done that at Brookside and the $33 million Rockview projects.

Both of those developments are part of a $200 million West Rock Revitalization Project, which reflects a shift from dense and isolated public housing to more suburban, family-oriented, self-sustaining communities.

Another major project for HANH is the ongoing financing and design work to redo the crime-ridden Farnam Courts on Grand Avenue and to relocate families in Fair Haven. Some Farnam Courts tenants will move to a to-be-built family-oriented development on the site of an old bottling factory at Ferry and Chatham streets (pictured).

The budget includes $22 million allocated for redevelopment programs. These are funded with grants that HANH has recently received from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)‘s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.

The RAD program is designed to convert aging public housing like HANH’s Essex Townhouses on Quinnipiac Avenue into higher-caliber apartments, through major rehabilitation. Rehabbed projects are then eligible for larger subsidies under Section 8 housing programs, explained Shanae Draughn, HANH’s executive project manager.

Another big-ticket line in the budget is $8.7 million for what, in the alphabet soup of HANH, is termed “COCC,” or the Central Office Cost Center, the housing authority’s administration.

In addition, $3.2 million has been allocated for HANH’s Glendower Group, Inc. That’s the authority’s separate development entity that helps structure the often complex borrowing and financing for new construction.

Due to this arrangement, a number of developments around town associated with HANH are not included in the budget, because the authority is the “moving entity” but not legally the owner. These “third-party sites,” in which HANH has ownership rights but not fullpfledged ownership, include Eastview Terrace and 122 Wilmot Rd. in West Rock.

Notes to the budget say that “these properties are separate legal entities from HANH, have separate budgets from HANH, have different approval processes than HANH and are on a different budget cycle than HANH.”

The budget passed without any discussion by the commissioners or the 35 people in attendance at the public meeting, most of whom are HANH staffers.

The budget had been previously reviewed and endorsed by the commission’s finance committee.

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posted by: Webblog1 on September 23, 2013  11:52am

There are two particular attention grabbing headlines extracted from this story.
1. “The Housing Authority Board approves an $81.5 million budget for fiscal year 2013-2014”.

2. “The budget passed without any discussion by the commissioners or the 35 people in attendance at the public meeting, most of who are HANH staffers.
The budget had been previously reviewed and endorsed by the commission’s finance committee”.

Sounds eerily like the action or lack of action by the New Haven Board of Alderman.

The story also highlights the lack citizen participation, a hall mark requirement of HUD.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 23, 2013  12:02pm

It sounds very much like the city budget - rubbertamped and the board - rubberstampers. There was not one question? Extraordinary.

posted by: PH on September 23, 2013  1:45pm

I can’t believe that they are planning on rebuilding Farnam as any sort of a residential site.  It is isolated in a commercial and industrial area, cut off by and immediately adjacent to the highway.  People shouldn’t live there if there is any other site in the city they can be.  Build commercial or industrial buildings, but nobody should have to live there.

posted by: Threefifths on September 23, 2013  11:06pm

posted by: PH on September 23, 2013 2:45pm
I can’t believe that they are planning on rebuilding Farnam as any sort of a residential site.  It is isolated in a commercial and industrial area, cut off by and immediately adjacent to the highway.  People shouldn’t live there if there is any other site in the city they can be.  Build commercial or industrial buildings, but nobody should have to live there.

It is call genefication.And the people better wake up or they will be live like this.

Gentrifying Into the Shelters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/nyregion/gentrifying-into-the-shelters.html

posted by: newhaven55 on September 24, 2013  9:36am

QUESTIONS:
1. What percent or amount of the budget is for administration and salaries?
2. How much of Glendower Group budget is for salaries and consultants (such as retired City of New Haven employees)?
3. How much of an increase from last year’s budget?
4. Is the Chair using his cell phone in the photo???

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on September 24, 2013  1:42pm

Commissions and Departments pass budgets (before the public) without any questions often.  It’s called ironing out differences in private.

It’s disrespectful to this competent Board of Commissioners to suggest that they have to argue/differ in order to have you believe that they are genuine in their work.

In fact, I must say in all sincerity, that I’m quite impressed with the Chairman of this Board and its members.

posted by: Webblog1 on September 24, 2013  7:55pm

Brian L. Jenkins on September 24, 2013 2:42pm

Brian, you are being more than a little disingenuous when you say “It’s disrespectful to this competent Board of Commissioners to suggest that they have to argue/differ in order to have you believe that they are genuine in their work”.

I recall when you were on the Board of Aldermen, where never a budget or ordinance passed when you did not argue point for point on the floor even though the decision was already decided in private caucus before the board meeting.

More over it was the NHI who said in their report that: “The budget passed without any discussion by the commissioners or the 35 people in attendance at the public meeting, most of whom are HANH staffers. The budget had been previously reviewed and endorsed by the commission’s finance committee.

The commenter’s here simply agreed and added that the process mirrors that of the current and previous BOA finance committee actions on the budget.

Also, it appears evident that the commissioners acted without citizen participation, something you argued fervently for while you were a public housing resident.

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