Evansville to drastically improve public housing

Published: Jun. 29, 2016 at 9:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 9:28 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville will be one of the first cities in the nation to drastically improve public housing.

The city has been selected for a HUD program, set to bring in more than $18 million. The money will be spent updating and repairing public housing.

The program is called RAD or Rental Assistance Demonstration Project, and is designed to create and sustain long-term, affordable, quality housing for low income families.

This first phase will improve the quality of life for 559 families giving their apartments a complete makeover. Many of these buildings haven't been renovated in years.

One of those buildings is the White Oak Manor apartments along Saint Joseph Avenue.

Leonard Mercer has lived there for more than ten years.

Mercer told 14 News, "I am really excited, [I] enjoy it and everything."

Another resident, Carolyn Malone says, "seeing it brand new honey, and I will be so happy to get a new stove, refrigerator and stuff now, but the glass top stove and a refrigerator and new windows, new floors and everything."

Rick Moore with the Evansville Housing Authority says they normally get less than $1 million a year for their 888 units, so this will make a drastic difference.

"When its all said and done, here we are going to have a geothermal system with heating and cooling, we installed on at Schnute a few years ago and we found that its very efficient," said Moore. "They will expect an apartment to be fully renovated, kitchen cabinets, painting, plumbing will be replaced if necessary, it will be like a brand new apartment."

Work will also be done to the outside.

Moore says over the past few years when people moved out they didn't immediately fill those units.

Now they will redo those empty units first and move families already into the building into those new rooms.

Collette Hudson has been in and out of the White Oak Manor apartments and tells 14 News, "I'm excited I just think I'm going to have a hard time packing my stuff up."

Construction will start in the next few weeks, phase one will be complete by June of next year.

There is also a phase two to this project which will began in late 2017. The city will receive an additional $13.5 million dollars for this phase of the project.

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