HUD and Mayor Bing Welcome First Family to New Homes at Old Herman Gardens Site
DETROIT, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez today joins Detroit Mayor David Bing at an 11 a.m. ceremony to welcome the first family into the new Gardenview Estates, an 833-unit mixed-income development that stands at the site of the former Herman Gardens public housing development. Henriquez, Bing and Eugene Jones, Jr., executive director of the Detroit Housing Commission, will present a house-warming gift to Vernadetta Ely and her family, the first of nearly 100 families who will move into their new homes in the coming weeks. More than 300 people from throughout the community are expected to attend the event. Gardenview Estates is located between Southfield Road and Asbury Park and between Joy and Tireman.
"This day has been a long time coming and thanks to the perseverance of so many, a new vibrant community is taking root in this great city," said Sandra Henriquez, who heads of HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing. "Today is about so much more than opening new homes. It is about opening the doors of opportunity and pride for the families who will grow and thrive here for generations to come."
"The new homes that comprise the Gardenview Estates development represent hope and opportunity for Detroit families and the city," Mayor Bing said. "It also reflects our on-going commitment to affordable, quality homes for Detroiters."
"The former Herman Gardens development site stood vacant for far too long," said Jones. "Gardenview Estates gave us the opportunity to rethink public housing in the City of Detroit, and that's exactly what we did. We're proud of this development and what it represents for the city. It truly is a new beginning for Detroit and for its residents."
The new units opening today mark the completion of the first phase of redevelopment for Herman Gardens. The Detroit Housing Commission received a 1996 HUD HOPE VI Revitalization Grant to redevelop more than 2,200 public housing units that stood on the land. This first phase includes 96 affordable rental units, including 48 public housing units and 48 Low-Income Housing Tax-Credit units that are available to families whose income is no more than 80 percent of the area's median income. In Detroit a family of four, whose income is at or below $45,440 would qualify.
Scheduled for completion in 2013, Gardenview Estates will bring 833 new housing opportunities to this northwest community. There will be a mixture of public and other affordable housing through tax-credits, market-rate rental housing, as well as market-rate rental and homeownership units. Also included in future development phases are 107 units for elderly residents.
Today Vernadetta Ely and her family will be welcomed as the first family to move into one of the three-bedroom units. Ely was 12 years old when she and her family moved into the old Herman Gardens development. As an adult, Ely moved into her own unit at the development and during the redevelopment, Ely moved her family to another DHC public housing unit. DHC requires that public housing residents enroll in the agency's Community and Supportive Services Program (CSSP), which helps families find employment and offers workshops on maintaining finances and other life skills that leads to self-sufficiency. Unlike some DHC public housing, families must contribute to utilities in the new public housing units.
While the Elys will not live on Mathis Avenue, DHC also is using the occasion to name a street in the new development after celebrated TV Judge Greg Mathis, who was a boyhood resident of Herman Gardens.
The homes' new design blends with the surrounding neighborhood and is a clear improvement from the old housing that was built in the early 1940s. Like public housing developments of its time, the former Herman Gardens was densely populated, with more than 2,200 units on 139 acres, and had become one of the city's most distressed communities. By 1995, all of the units were demolished to make way for the new community.
A stunning anchor of the new community is a $6 million Boys & Girls Club that was funded by the national organization and the National Football League (NFL). The YET Center was completed in 2007. It offers the community a wide-range of social services, including afterschool activities and mentoring programs for young adults. Since 1993, the NFL's Youth Education Town (YET) initiative has constructed educational and recreational centers for youth in at-risk neighborhoods in Super Bowl host cities. Detroit was the host city for the 40th Super Bowl.
HUD took over the DHC in 2005, citing considerable mismanagement. Both the city and HUD agreed the agency had been troubled for more than a decade and required extraordinary attention to improve the quality of life for Detroit's public housing and Housing Choice Voucher residents. HUD entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the city to begin improving the Commission's management and financial operations.
As operations improved, HUD determined the agency was ready for stable leadership and in January 2008, selected Eugene Jones to lead DHC day-to-day operations, with HUD maintaining control. From the beginning, HUD receivership teams took aggressive steps to spur development of DHC's three HOPE VI grants, which languished for years because of numerous management changes at the Commission. Today, all three grants are underway, including Jeffries Homes and Parkside Homes. Through HUD's receivership, DHC has made significant progress in redeveloping both low-income and affordable housing in the city.
SOURCE HUD; Detroit Housing Commission
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