Bridgeport resident task force to transform public housing
Bridgeport’s public housing authority, known as Park City Communities, is using federal funds to create a resident task force designed to help improve a public housing property.
The Charles F. Greene Homes were built in 1951 and have 270 apartments. The city will use a $500,000 federal Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to research and develop a transformation plan to improve the property.
The two-year grant process will include developing a task force made up of Greene Homes residents. The residents will give input on desired changes, Park City Communities CEO Jillian Baldwin said.
“It's all about locally driven strategies, and so the housing authority is not coming to the table with a preconceived notion of what the final product will look like. That decision will be made and that vision will be driven predominantly by the residents,” Baldwin said.
The goal of the funding is to allow the city to develop healthy, energy efficient homes while preserving existing housing and creating new units.
The task force will spend the next two years developing a plan that will set the city up to apply for additional HUD funding to execute the plan.
It’s unknown how the project will take shape. However,residents have been vocal about their desire to increase the city’s housing options, Baldwin said.
“Our residents have communicated to us that they would love to see a build first strategy because as we know, there's a lack of available affordable housing in the market,” Baldwin said. “We know that Connecticut is highly impacted by this lack of vacancy, and so one of the things our residents are concerned about is being able to find new units.”
The project’s public engagement will begin in January, Baldwin said.
“[Park City Communities] has worked long and hard to be in a position to undertake this work. This is a win for us and a win for Bridgeport,” Park City Communities resident and the Communities’ Board Chair Bettie Cook said.
Park City Communities will be working in collaboration with the city and statewide housing affordability advocacy group The Housing Collective to redevelop Greene Homes.