Saturday, March 31, 2018
Three more candidates (Martin, Estill, FitzGerald) have provided statements to We Are New Albany about their positions on Jeff Gahan's public housing demolition fetish.
We're passing these statements along as Aaron Fairbanks of We Are New Albany harvests them; all along, our stance at NA Confidential has been that any candidate who'll make a public statement addressing the Democratic mayor Jeff Gahan's hostile takeover of public housing, and his subsequent assaults on our city's most vulnerable populations, at least merits consideration for voting -- as opposed to the ones who have refused to comment at all.
As to the quality and content of these statements ... well, we'll get to that when there's time, but your thoughts are welcome in the interim.
In this update: LaMicra Martin, Christina Estill, and Chris FitzGerald.
LaMicra Martin prepared a preliminary statement today. We owe her our gratitude for speaking on this issue.
LaMicra Martin for Floyd County Commissioner
I understand the emotions and worry when you are about to loose your home especially when you have not planned on moving. I am hopeful when the plan comes in that there are accommodations for families.
I am asking for those who own houses that you consider in taking housing vochures. I was once on NAHA section 8 program so I understand how hard it is to find a home and the emotions that come along. I am thankful that we were blessed to have a person to accept the vochure to accommodate my family. Be a blessing to someone. Families have enough stress and worry of trying to make ends meet because of low wage jobs, the worry of the safety for children in school, now adding the worrying about a place to live.
This is the time and I am hopeful that we as a community can help each other.
Christina Estill released a statement. I cannot express how pleased I am that we have candidates speaking up for this group. We have not even seen the tip of the iceberg of what we're capable of achieving.
Christina For New Albany's Trustee
After my experience today visiting with residents of NAHA, I was faced with many questions to the Housing Demolition proposal. As a former resident this hot topic is definitely of necessary concern. I will be advocating for people to ask more questions. Get educated on the past and current proposals. Please don't go in with blind eyes and trust just anybody. Please don't let yourself or others be persuaded.
My beliefs and values on this subject are that each resident should not have to fear being displaced or uprooted from a strong community full of thriving support. We have great unity with a variety of resources that are conveniently located and easily accessible. Why should any resident have to fear having to take a voucher outside of New Albany to find adequate housing because we don't have enough private landlords willing to take them? We need to be cognitive of what it looks like to have to move to a new town and get reacquainted with the whereabouts of the resources and transportation issues.
So what I will do is ask these tough questions! What I will do is unite with the residents of NAHA and be a voice for their concerns! What I will do is make sure we are educated on the funding available from the Federal funds and make sure they have a plan to be accommodating for ALL residents!
Just in ... Chris FitzGerald (D) state representative candidate of Indiana's 72nd District, comments on the New Albany Housing Authority situation.
tl;dr I am looking forward to the completed NAHA assessment, and we need to invest more in affordable housing
After speaking at the New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) ‘Meet the Candidate’ event this week, residents asked my stance on housing in general and the current situation facing current NAHA residents. I would like to share my thoughts:
As a child I grew up experiencing housing insecurity; I understand the stress an untimely move can cause. I know what it is like to move from one sub-standard apartment to another, and finally settling at Cross Creek Apartments for nearly a decade. I benefitted from the Section 8 program. I’m sure that 10-year-old me would be nervous at the thought or rumor of being evicted for any reason. As our region gains more population, the need for affordable housing grows. With a 12% poverty rate in Floyd County, that need only increases. Our residents work hard (Floyd County has a 3.1% unemployment rate), but still cannot afford to live in quality housing. This, in turn, places greater strain on our public programs and social safety net. All of this is a backdrop to the current situation at NAHA.
For those not aware, NAHA currently operates 1,200 housing units. With underinvestment from the Federal government going back decades, we have a price tag of nearly $140,000,000 in deferred maintenance costs. This is a situation that cannot continue as is. Continued deterioration will only harm NAHA residents. NAHA is currently doing an assessment of the its housing stock to figure out the full extent of the issue. When that assessment is complete, a 10-year plan will be drafted that will determine which units will be renovated, which can be maintained, and which may need to be demolished. This plan, according to media reports, will include resident input and would be conducted in phases. This is important so that there will be as minimal disruption to the residents as possible. I look forward to the completion of the assessment and will work with all parties to ensure a plan that will bring about the most good.
If there is an overall reduction of units throughout the 10-year plan, there may be an increase in both tenant-based and project-based Section 8 programs. As your State Representative I will work to find ways to better incentivize property owners and developers to accept the Housing Choice Vouchers. Potential renters should not be viewed as a housing risk due to their voucher. I will also work with TARC to see how bus routes could be expanded to connect our communities.
Again, this is all with a backdrop of an increased demand for affordable housing. As your State Representative, I want to increase the money Floyd County gets in affordable housing funds. Currently, Floyd County is categorized as a more rural county and has to share affordable housing funds with eight other counties. Ed Clere has done nothing to change that. I want to increase the ability to redevelop vacant properties and turn them into affordable housing, whether to be used as rental property or to be owned. Mayor Gahan and the City Council rightfully included a mandatory minimum of 8% affordable units in any development that includes city money within the comprehensive plan. This is a great way to help increase the stock for our young families and our increasing senior population. It is important to pursue a reclassification of Floyd County as a more urban county, as we are in the Louisville metropolitan area, which could incentivize more developers to create affordable housing.
We need to continue to alleviate poverty and strengthen opportunity for all Hoosiers in Floyd County. I look forward to helping strengthen our affordable housing stock and stabilize our public housing for future generations.