By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
The long-awaited groundbreaking for redevelopment of the 61-year-old Loveman Village in Birmingham’s Titusville neighborhood is expected in weeks, housing officials announced on Wednesday.
The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) along with Hollyhand Development LLC and the City of Birmingham provided a status update on the project that has been in the works for two and half years and secured with $17 million from the Alabama Housing Finance Authority.
Michael Lundy, president and CEO of HABD, said 500 units in Loveman Village will be transformed into modern, less dense living space with 164 units on site and 120 units off site.
There are currently 246 renters left out of 500 at Loveman Village.
HABD social workers have already begun working with families who will move to make way for site demolition and the new living area.
All of the changes are designed to help residents become self-sufficient, Lundy said.
“We have a robust community engagement department,” Lundy said, “. . . that means we work with our residents and create a case management model that we link them to services so that within five years they become self-sufficient. One of the things we have to do as public housing officials is break the cycle of generational poverty and generational public housing. We’re doing that here in Loveman Village.”
Under the HABD plan, known as the Family Self-Sufficiency program, participants sign a five-year contract to identify their educational, personal and professional goals.
Birmingham City Councilwoman, Sheila Tyson, said she was excited what the project will do for District 6 and the North Titusville neighborhood.
“We need to provide more opportunities. That’s what this program will do,” Tyson said. “It will provide more opportunities for people to advance their education, workforce development, and daycare, things that the community needs to advance and things that people need to build themselves up.”
Tyson also spoke of plans for a better grocery store and recreation in the community as well.
Mayor William Bell thanked HABD, developers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and others for help in transforming Loveman Village.
The mayor spoke of hope.
“…it’s not just redeveloping the physical structure of Loveman Village, but working with us to redevelop the future plans of the citizens in this community and to give them hope, just as my great grandmother had hope that she could live in a better place,” said Bell. “Just as the families who lived here during the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s came here because they couldn’t go anywhere else, but we want to give them that hope again, that they can live in decent housing.
“We all must stay focused and stay committed to giving the residents of Loveman Village a new facility that they can be proud of,” he said. “A new hope that they can dream of and a new reality that they can be a part of a better life.”