City of Buford officials this past week released plans for the transformation of public housing in the city.
The Buford City Planning and Zoning Board recently recommended approval for a rezoning request to The Paces Foundation, a sustainable affordable housing developer, which opens the door to development of new communities that will replace current Buford Housing Authority (BHA) units. Final approval rests with the Buford City Commission, which is scheduled to meet Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at Buford City Arena.
The two proposed communities will replace developments that are 70-years-old, according to city officials.
"The replacement is a unit-for-unit replacement," said Buford City Manager Bryan Kerlin in a press statement. "The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partners with authorities and provides tax credits for developers to introduce these kinds of mutually beneficial communities."
Forty-five of the 73 units located on New Street and East Park Street will be relocated one mile south to South Street. An additional 10 apartments are planned for the existing BHA property off of Circle View Drive, while 20 new apartments are planned on New Street at Arnold Street.
According to BHA Executive Director Kevin Jones, keeping residents inside the Buford City limits was vital.
"It is essential to the Housing Authority and HUD that the residents can remain in the downtown Buford area as many of them have family, doctors and community in the area."
Currently, BHA manages 189 public housing units in Gwinnett and Hall Counties - 143 of these units are located inside the city limits of Buford.
Staying in line with the mission of the Buford Housing Authority and with the financial backing of a federal funding program, the 44 new quadruplex units and one triplex are planned for South Street as a 55-and-older community. Jones said the Buford Housing Authority had been thinking for some time about renovating and possibly replacing its oldest apartments off East Park and New Street.
"Many of the public housing properties in Buford were built in the early 1950s, and they were considered a quality product and exceeded many of the current standards of the day," Jones said.
The community planned at Elliott and South Street will be named Handsel Morgan Village after the Housing Authority’s founder. The new family-oriented community on Arnold Street will be named Mary Alice Place, after longtime employee and first female Executive Director of the Buford Housing Authority Mary Alice Beard.
The 10 units built off of Circle View Drive and Trail View Drive will be on a new road called Hill View Drive. In addition to these new apartments, a new community building and playground will be built at this location.
All of the improvements and renovations are being made possible by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program culminating with the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). This HUD program allows Public Housing Authorities to leverage public and private debt to preserve and improve their properties.