The Fayette County Housing Authority is waiting on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to move ahead with plans to eventually demolish and rebuild Gibson Terrace in Connellsville.
Mark Yauger, the authority’s executive director, said that the authority is waiting on HUD to approve its demolition disposition application, which the board authorized submitting in June.
“It’s in the final review stage now,” Yauger said.
Andre Walters, the authority’s deputy executive director, said that the authority may advertise for demolition around May if it gets HUD approval.
Yauger has previously said that Gibson Terrace residents will be able to get on a waiting list to move back into the complex once it’s rebuilt, but will not receive preferential consideration. He said the authority will relocate residents. Tenants’ relocation options will include tenant protection vouchers and vacant public housing units.
The project, slated to reduce the number of units at Gibson Terrace from 147 to 52, is in line with what HUD has called a “repositioning” of public housing units, with a goal of eliminating 125,000 public housing units by September 2020.
Relocations from Gibson Terrace have already started, something that Yauger said was contributing to the authority’s vacancy rates being up.
But Yauger also reported that vacancies are also up because Fayette County is doing “a little bit better financially,” noting new U.S. Census Bureau data last month showing that Fayette County’s poverty rate had decreased 4% and its median household income increased $8,800 from 2017 to 2018.
“People are finding places to live, getting jobs,” Yauger said. “ … That’s what we want.”