SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Housing Authority of Savannah (HAS) is looking to upgrade a longtime public housing complex downtown. Demolition plans are in the works for Yamacraw Village that was built in 1941.
Neighbors who live in Yamacraw Village say they’re tired of living in homes that are 80 years old. Elizabeth Halbert recently moved into public housing.
“Everything is falling a part, the ceilings, just the whole nine,” Halbert said.
She said mold is an issue, her doors and windows don’t lock properly, and the bathtub is falling apart.
A physical needs assessment done by HAS led the board to agree on demolition. The Housing Authority is hoping to submit an application for demolition to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by late summer or early fall.
“It would take $40 million to bring the current 315 apartments up to quality standard. HUD says when it costs that much, your property is eligible according to section 18 for demolition,” Executive Director Earline Davis said.
“I think the ball was dropped by the Housing Authority,” District 2 Alderman Detric Leggett said.
Leggett believes as time has gone on, upgrades should have already been happening.
“What we have here is a form of what we say is demolition by neglect, and when I use that term, and a definition of that is just don’t do nothing,” Leggett said. “Allow it to dilapidate, and the powers that be just get tired of looking at it and will sell it or will tear it down.”
Davis said the Housing Authority has not neglected the Yamacraw Village homes — there just hasn’t been enough money coming in from HUD for major repairs. For now though, until the application is approved, residents will stay in their homes.
“The requirement is that we rehouse everyone who lives here,” Davis said.
Families that have lived here for more than two years are eligible for a voucher to find new homes. Those who have lived in Yamacraw Village for less would be placed in current public housing.