Affordable housing rehab project in Springfield on hold

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 8:04 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A multi million dollar project to overhaul affordable housing in Springfield has hit a snag.

The Housing Authority of Springfield has been ironing out the details for years.

Now approval for the funding is on hold and a tenant advocate group is raising questions about the project’s stability.

“It’s just a win win to me for everybody involved,” said Springfield Housing Director, Katrena Wolfram.

Several housing complexes currently managed by the housing authority will be sold to Keystone Family Homes, LP. and renovated.

This will change the way the federal government funds the HUD program locally. The public housing program will be converted to a Section 8 program.

“I think the misconception is from public housing to section 8. What are the different guidelines? What are the different income limits? The residents aren’t going to pay anymore than their income for rent,” explained Wolfram.

She says the only difference for residents is the type of lease they sign.

“This is something new. This is something new for the residents. We’re all kind of growing together to learn the process,” said Wolfram.

Victoria Altic with Springfield Tenants Unite said, “What we’re simply asking for is more oversight and accountability and communication.”

She says the organization works to protect residents' rights.

“We have seen RAD conversions across the country. We’ve talked to other tenant unions and organizations where RAD has gone well. We’ve also talked to places where it hasn’t gone well and it’s actually led to things like displacement or gentrification. This is going to have a wider impact on Springfield and our most vulnerable population here,” explained Altic.

Wolfram says she recently learned about the organization.

“They never talked to me. They never called me to ask questions about RAD or called my staff and say, hey, can we sit down and have a meeting and discuss,” she says.

Wolfram says welcomes open dialog about residents' concerns.

Altic said, “We are not against RAD. We just want to make sure that there is more oversight.”

“Other housing authorities have done it and we’re following suit and HUD is very supportive of us doing this,” said Wolfram.

Springfield City Council is revisit the ordinance for bond funding again in two weeks.

Once approved, construction on is scheduled to start by the end of this year.

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