Public Housing Renovations Worry Douglass Park Community
COLUMBIA - Some residents of downtown public housing units scheduled for remodeling voiced concerns at a meeting Thursday night about the possibility of losing their homes. Former City Council member Almeta Crayton held the meeting at Douglass Park to discuss recent events in the city's first ward. Community members attending the event discussed park violence, the installation of security cameras in the area, and the need for jobs in the black community.
One of the most talked about and heated topics at the meeting was focused around the Columbia Housing Authority's recent decision to renovate public housing units on Unity and Lincoln Drives in Downtown Columbia.
Residents at the meeting said they are concerned about where they will go when the renovations take place. The housing authority said right now, it plans to give vouchers to put toward the cost of temporary housing or move them to other Columbia Housing Authority housing. The main concern of residence though, was about what will happen once those improvements are made.
In many cities, especially larger ones such as St. Louis and Kansas City, when public housing renovations occur, residents are often not invited to move back into their homes. The residents said they are mainly concerned about the possibility of losing neighbors and the sense of community that currently exists in the Douglass Park Area. They said they are skeptical of the housing authority's promise because the plan is not finalized.
Another meeting is being held Wednesday to further discuss the issue.