By Joseph D. Bryant
Housing Authority of the Birmingham District
Residents of Loveman Village want better homes, better lives, and are willing to become active partners in improving their own condition.
Such was the message this week when the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District presented a town hall meeting where residents packed the Loveman Village community center to ask questions and learn more about the $79.6 million overall plan to redevelop the complex in the Titusville neighborhood.
“This was definitely an evening that gave rise to hope for a new community,” HABD President and CEO Michael Lundy said following the meeting Wednesday evening.
On Monday, June 20, the HABD Board of Commissioners followed up, bringing their monthly meeting to Loveman. Officials presented detailed information about the project, including financing and a draft floor plans. The meeting was held at the Loveman Village Community Center, 300 1st. Ave. Southwest.
HABD earlier this month received $17 million in tax credits from the Alabama Housing Finance Tax Authority to jumpstart the project.
Hollyhand Development of Northport is HABD’s developer partner.
The new Loveman development will have less units, ending the antiquated version of high-density public housing. Redevelopment will occur in four phases. The tax credits will fund the demolition at Loveman and the building of 100 new homes there. In all, the 500 existing units will be replaced with 220 units that complement the historic character of the surrounding Titusville neighborhood.
Just as important as the aesthetic improvements, Loveman redevelopment presents an opportunity to lead residents on a path toward self-sufficiency.
Lundy stressed that residents who participate in the HABD Self-Sufficiency program will have priority in living in the redeveloped areas. He calls the enhanced effort “Up and Out'” where participants work with housing authority staff to form and execute a five-year plan to find jobs, obtain better jobs or reach educational goals toward financial independence.
The elderly and disabled are not required to participate in Up and Out, but Lundy called the program a model that has proven to help strengthen families and communities at large.
“As was evidenced at our town hall meeting, many of our residents are already working families who desire more,” Lundy said. “Others that evening were also excited to learn about the programs we currently offer that could enhance their lives. Public housing, for the most part, is a temporary solution. We are going to return to that original concept as we help guide families to self-determination and self-reliance.”
Monday’s HABD board meeting is also a celebration where residents, the press and general community are encouraged to attend.
“This redevelopment is going to enhance not only Loveman Village and Titusville, but this entire city,” said HABD Board of Commissioners Chairman Cardell Davis. “For years we have waited for this day to come, and it has finally arrived. Planning is underway, financing is being assembled. This is certainly a time for celebration.”