“These are going to be high quality-units,” executive director Paul Dellinger said. “It’s not conventional public housing, and that’s by design.”
He said the new townhouses are ideal for people who are working. Those applying must be employed at least 20 hours a week, unless the head of house applicant meets the Department of Housing and Urban Development definition of elderly or disabled, according to a proposed draft of qualifications. Dellinger said for a family to qualify as elderly the head of the household must be 62 or older.
Housing Authority houses on Clemmer and Baugh streets were chosen for renovation for these offerings.
“We gutted it and started over,” Dellinger said.
The new two-story townhouses have two bedrooms and washer and dryers. Stonework creates columns as a pleasing welcome to the renovated houses.
“The Clemmer and Baugh housing is going to be our first experience at trying to target and attract a different income segment than what we have been traditionally focused on,” Dellinger said.
The townhouses can also provide families a transition from traditional public housing to renting on their own.
“It’s a next step. It provides an incentive to folks to work toward that — eventually go off program and go to the private market,” Dellinger said.
As a way of promoting the goal, Dellinger said his office would be sending letters outlining this new opportunity to those who currently live in two-bedroom housing and meet the income requirements.
“We are very hopeful that we will have a number of families who will come out of conventional public housing and become residents of that new facility,” Dellinger said.
These units will be available to those who have an annual income of at least 50 percent of the area median income limit or more.
For a two-person family that would be $19,800; for a four-person family it would be $24,700.
Clemmer and Baugh residents will also be responsible for utility costs.
Other requirements to apply include agreeing to an inspection of current living arraignments and a follow-up inspection if an applicant moves into the townhouses.
Background checks are run on all applicants.
Dellinger said he hopes to have the first families moved in during January.
The first applications received will belong to the first families to be given consideration.
Dellinger said an application is available on the housing authorities website at http://www.clevelandhousingauthority.com.
Premier housing has been a goal of the Cleveland Housing Authority since 2008.
“Back in 2008, we actually engaged in a strategic plan for the organization … we did an analysis of all our properties … to determine the best plan of action to really position our properties for success,” Dellinger said.
Under HUD regulations a family of two to four people can live in a two-bedroom home.
Dellinger said the Housing Authority receives funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and from rent.
“HUD stipulates what that rent will be,” Dellinger said.
No one pays more than 30 percent of his or her adjusted annual income.
The higher a person’s income the more rent the Housing Authority receives based on 30 percent of their income.
“Folks at some point when their income-based rent reaches at or around market can go off program ... If they so choose,” Dellinger said. “A lot of times people will.”
Dellinger said public housing does not offer many of the amenities someone could have if renting an apartment on their own. Amenities such as carpet, dishwashers, garbage disposals or swimming pools are not offered in public housing.