HUD No. 08-062
May 7, 2008
SARASOTA HOUSING AUTHORITY MARKS PUBLIC HOUSING REVITALIZATION WITH JANIE POE GROUND BREAKING
SARASOTA - Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Sarasota (Fla.) Housing Authority, and Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer broke ground today to begin the redevelopment of the Janie Poe public housing community. This marks the beginning of the complete revitalization of SHA's public housing communities in Sarasota's Newtown neighborhood.
"This is a great day for the families who lived in Janie Poe who have endured poor housing conditions for too long," said Justin Ormsby, the HUD-appointed Board chair of SHA, who joined SHA Executive Director William Russell at 2400 Janie Poe Drive. "The new community on the horizon will bring better housing and a brighter future for current families and generations to come."
"This day marks a long-awaited transformation of not only a blighted community but also the lives of our residents," said SHA Executive Director William Russell. "We could not have reached this critical turning point were it not for the tremendous support of the City of Sarasota, Sarasota County, the community and our residents."
Ormsby, Russell, Milton Pratt of Michael's Development, the New Jersey-based affordable housing developer, Mayor Lou Ann Palmer, County Commissioner Paul Mercier and Janie Poe Resident Leader and Advisory Board member Valerie Buchand took up shovels as workers bulldozed the first of the 52 buildings that will be demolished to make way for a new mixed income community. There will be a total of 86 new homes that will include 26 public housing units, 40 affordable units that will serve low-income families and 20 market-rate rental homes.
Subsequent redevelopment phases at Janie Poe will bring another 44 public housing units, 28 affordable rental housing units, another 19 market-rate rentals, and approximately 40 affordable and market-rate homes that will be available for purchase. Upon completion, a total of 218 new homes will replace the distressed units built in the early 1970s. Funding for the Janie Poe site redevelopment will include $10 million in 9 percent tax credits from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and $7 million (out of an overall commitment of $17 million) from Sarasota city and county.
In a July 2004 visit to the Janie Poe public housing development, HUD officials founds the units in such deplorable condition they sent a team of investigators to assess the state of the housing authority and Sarasota's four public housing complexes - Janie Poe, Orange Avenue, The Courts and Bertha Mitchell. They found massive management and financial problems, which had led to the deterioration of the public housing stock. HUD officially took control of SHA in April 2005 citing financially insolvency.
Since taking control, HUD's receivership teams have made significant progress to correct financial and management deficiencies. The HUD receivership teams have also rehabilitated long-term vacant apartments which are now occupied. Other significant changes include: streamlining operations so that unit repairs are prompt to bring apartments on-line rapidly, as well as extensive training of SHA staff.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.