The Peoria Housing Authority is taking a big step towards redeveloping the Taft Homes.
The board voted last night to approve an agreement with Bear Development, LLC of Kenosha, Wisc., to redevelop the Taft Homes through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program.
RAD transitions public housing to Section 8 housing. Per HUD rules, units move to Section 8 under a long-term contract that must be renewed. Residents continue to pay 30 percent of their income for housing.
HUD said converting public housing units to Section 8 allows agencies to leverage private capital to make building improvements.
Carl Cannon is the chairman of the Peoria Housing Authority Board of Trustees. He said the vision for the Taft is to demolish the current housing stock and build new housing, but he said it will be years before ground is broken on the new buildings.
“It is a long term process when you work with a developer. It’s not tear down and build, it’s tear down, build and then stay for about 15 years," he said.
Cannon said the PHA will receive recommendations from Bear Development and engage with the residents and the community at large to determine what the Taft Homes should look like going forward.
“We want the community involved in what Taft is going to look like going forward. So we’ll reach out to members of the community, stakeholders and residents," Cannon said.
The Taft Homes were originally constructed in 1952 as temporary housing for Korean War veterans. The PHA has formed task forces and weighed various plans over the last several years to renovate the Taft Homes.
There are currently more than 200 low-income units in the housing development in Peoria's North Valley neighborhood.
The board is set to explain its roadmap for Taft’s future in more detail at its August 5 meeting, Cannon said.