June. 7—Renovations to kitchens and bogs for tenants in 46 flats at Westgate Gardens are on maintain after the Decatur Housing Authority twice obtained solely a single bid for a mission that was key to its settlement of a discrimination grievance.
Taura Denmon, director of DHA, advised her board at its month-to-month assembly final week that the US Division of Housing and City Growth normally requires the authority to get at the very least two bids on any mission.
The renovation plans on the public housing advanced for low-income senior adults embody redoing the kitchens and bedrooms with new flooring and portray and including new home equipment. The one submitted bid was $3.2 million for the 46 flats of the advanced at Adams Drive Northwest, DHA Chief Monetary Officer Donna Gibson mentioned.
Gibson mentioned accepting this single bid “would take the entire capital cash we now have.”
“We prolonged the (pair of) bid durations 4 or 5 instances and solely acquired one bid every time,” Denmon mentioned. “We didn’t just like the bid, and we will not settle for only one bid. We have reached out to HUD to see what they need us to do.”
Denmon mentioned contractors can join on the authority’s market on its new web site, decatur-housing.org, to obtain emails about deliberate tasks.
“We’ve got a pleasant checklist of those that downloaded our checklist of tasks,” Denmon mentioned. “We made calls to a few of the contractors and most say they’re simply too busy.”
The Rev. Jerry Baker, a brand new Housing Authority board member, mentioned the authority is not the one public authorities entity struggling to seek out contractors for tasks.
“The contractor state of affairs is widespread,” Baker mentioned.
The Decatur Housing Authority is beneath a voluntary compliance settlement with HUD that started in 2020 after the authority was accused of discrimination with its three senior house complexes.
HUD charged the Housing Authority with discriminating in opposition to Blacks who had been on ready lists for Jordan-Neill and Summer time Manor flats, the multi-story buildings that bookend Rhodes Ferry Park and provide views of the Tennessee River.
As an alternative, in keeping with HUD, Blacks had been steered towards Westgate Gardens.
The Housing Authority board denied the accusation however agreed to a voluntary compliance settlement with HUD that included paying out as much as a complete of $200,000 to the victims of discrimination, revising its waiting-list insurance policies and committing to improve Westgate Gardens at what was then an estimated value of $1 million.
As a part of the settlement, the Housing Authority is renovating the neighborhood room at Westgate Gardens. Denmon mentioned this mission is delayed however is nearly full. She mentioned the contractor will possible be assessed some late penalties.
The VCA necessities embody desegregating the three senior house complexes. Denmon mentioned she is aware of they’ve made progress on the two towers on the river the place they attempt to fill vacancies with a racial steadiness from their brief wait checklist. She mentioned she would not know Westgate’s standing.
Denmon, who began with the authority final 12 months, mentioned DHA has to make a good housing report back to HUD twice a 12 months. She mentioned she additionally speaks with the regional HUD workplace “about as soon as a month to ensure we’re in compliance.”
She mentioned the Decatur Housing Authority workers and board have not obtained any suggestions from HUD on their progress towards the purpose of ending the VCA in June 2023.
“They do not give a response,” Denmon mentioned. “However I am positive they might inform us if there’s one thing they do not like.”
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