Now Released From Federal Control, Gary Housing Authority Has Grand Plan To Improve City’s Public Housing – CBS Chicago

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GARY, Ind. (CBS) — A new chapter has begun for Gary, Indiana.

The city’s housing authority was considered so “troubled” that the federal government stepped in to run it seven years ago. Now, the feds have released the reigns and new local leadership is in place.

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CBS 2’s Lauren Victory took us inside what is now on tap for tenants.

The storm has passed for the Gary Housing Authority – now out of federal control and in the hands of new executive director Taryl Bonds.

“The GHA, for the first time in 20 years, is not in what’s called ‘troubled’ status,” Bonds said.

That chronic poor performance led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take over Gary’s hundreds of public housing units in 2013.

Concerns included “financial mismanagement” “physical conditions,” and “occupancy rates.”

But now, Bonds said, “For the first time, we were able to get a clean audit.”

Many other calculated changes are also on the way.

The most immediate task is relocating residents at Delaney Community then tearing down the complex.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to keep putting band-aids and investing that type of public dollars into a development,” Bonds said. “It’s time to demolish and start over.”

Bonds explains demo is cheaper than rehab for the 1950’s units.

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GHA will bulldoze Gary Manor too. Dorie Miller Homes are also on the chopping block.

Bonnie, who didn’t want her full name or face shown, has lived nearby for nearly 50 years.

“It will probably look good and clean, so I will like that,” Bonnie said of the planned demolition of the Dorie Miller development.

Fueling the future are federal grants. A total of $8.6 million came in through emergency funding a few months ago.

Gary applied and was one of only three cities chosen.

“We have a mantra of ‘Why not us?’” Bonds said.

So they’re looking to maximize tax credits and other ways to save money for future public housing developments.

“Living conditions of the citizens of Gary need to be upgraded,” Bonds said. “They simply deserve better.”

And that grand plan is possible with GHA’s newfound freedom.

Gary received another $6.6 million in HUD funding this year. That is the highest award received by any of the Indiana Housing Authorities.

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The annual capital grant will be used for painting, window repairs, and other improvements.

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