City Council to Create 3 New Positions to Help Improve Public Housing

In December of last year, the city council discussed ways in which the government could be more involved with the Charlottesville Housing Authority.

On Tuesday, they will hear a report on recommended hiring to help with self sufficiency in public housing.

Siting a long time of dysfunction within public housing here in Charlottesville, the city and the housing authority are ready to do something about it.

In Tuesday''s meeting, there will be three specialists positions dedicated to self sufficiency that are being considered to help with three key areas in public housing: resident relations, facilities management, and human resources.

The relationship between the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority and it's residents has been a concern for many years.

In the report that will be presented Tuesday, it says that an unhealthy distrust has developed and that it must be seriously addressed if the hope of the CRHA and the Public Housing Association of Residents also know as 'PHAR' truly wants to have an improved quality of life for all public housing residents.

Other keys issues includes the timeliness of maintenance, access to employment opportunities and public safety.

Representatives of PHAR and the city council both agree that the creation of these positions will only help improve relations going forward.

"From a maintenance standpoint we are very happy to hear the city council put their money where their mouth is and create the maintenance supervisor position, which we've been calling for for a very long time," said Brandon Collins from PHAR.

"Maintenance at the housing authority is uncoordinated and there is no comprehensive approach to maintenance there and we're excited to see that happen."

The constant battles over issues such as rent, evictions, and continuing suspicion over redevelopment are things they hope to resolve with the creation of these positions.

"One thing that we have had in the past is a self sufficiency coordinator, and it's to help people get out of public housing basically so that they can get employment that is self sufficient," said Councilwoman Kristen Szakos.

"We also want people to find someway to get out of public housing and that will help open up the space for new people to come in and have it be a transitional space for people who can move out," she said.

The city council meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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