Public housing

Housing Authority Board Approves Public Housing Demonstration Contracts | News

DANVILLE — The Vermilion Housing Authority has relocated 102 families from public housing that will be demolished this winter at the Fair Oaks public housing complex in Danville.

Of these, approximately 30 families moved out of Vermilion County, approximately 22 families received vouchers for housing in Vermilion County, and 35 moved to other public housing in Fair Oaks. The others left alone.

VHA executive director Jaclyn Vinson said they had to wait for units to become available in Fair Oaks for families wishing to stay. The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed challenges for relocations and housing options.

For Ramey Court in Georgetown, there were vacancies in all 26 units where residents and families had to be relocated for its demolition.

Fences are in place and demolitions will take place this winter at both locations.

The Housing Authority Board last week approved a $396,592 contract with Owens Excavating and Trucking LLC for the demolition of Fair Oaks, Phase 2 project; an $85,083 contract with Bob Brown Construction Inc. for the Infrastructure Removal Project in Fair Oaks to remove roads and sidewalks around buildings to be demolished; and a $94,649 contract with Bob Brown Construction Inc. for the Ramey Court demolition project.

Vinson said they received very competitive bids for the projects from local and regional contractors.

“The numbers are good. They are in line with what we had expected with auctions over the winter months,” she said.

Housing authority officials prepare contract documents.

Vinson said they were under no time constraints for the demolitions. Schedules will be based on contractors to see what suits them best for available staff.

It expects demolition work to begin after the first of the year, with a completion period of 90 days.

Fourteen 102-unit buildings will be demolished in Fair Oaks in Danville. This will leave 22 buildings and 167 residential units.

In 2019, six buildings containing 57 units were demolished in Fair Oaks, as part of the first phase of demolition. At one point, Fair Oaks had over 300 units.

Thirteen duplex buildings with 26 units at Ramey Court in Georgetown will be demolished. The adjacent Kennedy Court will remain.

Vinson said the housing structures they demolish are physically obsolete and demolition projects are multifaceted.

“We want to improve the quality of what affordable housing looks like in Vermilion County,” she said.

Moreover, high concentrations of public housing do not work for residents or communities.

Vinson said the housing authority must also continue to strategically examine the capital needs of its buildings.

“We don’t have enough capital to bring (all current housing) up to the quality of what we want them to be,” she said.

She said the housing authority needs to make better use of the capital fund resources it has.

Major campaigns will begin in the new year to update the remaining public housing in the county.

The buildings are in good structural condition, but housing authority officials will look into more modern amenities, such as central air conditioning and securing spaces.

Vinson said they will come up with a plan for the buildings that remain, what kind of amenities they can include, and what they want those properties to be for the people who live there.

There had already been a big push across the county to ensure public housing structures were sound, such as with roof and siding replacements.

Vinson also said they will work to improve the image of public housing.