As more and more residents of St. Paul prepare to relocate, some still have no place to go; Norfolk Town Leaders Make A Promise To Them
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority held a press conference on Friday to give residents more information on their right of return policy.
NORFOLK, Virginia – As Norfolk City leaders continue with their St. Paul’s neighborhood redevelopment plans, they are making a pledge: Anyone who moves will have the right to come back when the new units are built.
The city is redeveloping barracks-style housing projects to make way for mixed-income communities.
In the Tidewater Gardens section of St. Paul’s, demolitions are underway and more families will have to move this summer.
The town offers residents the option of relocating to another community owned by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, or a voucher to move into private accommodation of their choice.
Robin Powell has lived in Tidewater Gardens for 18 years and said he was due to move in July. He has a housing voucher but is still finding a place to go.
“It’s more than difficult,” said Powell. “Most of the places I checked have already been rented. Some will not take the voucher. “
The clock is ticking for Powell and 293 other families in Tidewater Gardens who have yet to move.
Under a city ordinanceNorfolk City leaders and the NRHA have promised that every resident who moves will be able to turn back the clock when the new units are built. It’s the city Return policy. In order to return, residents will need to meet certain criteria, such as respecting their lease when moving and not owing money to NRHA.
Esther Hobbs, a resident of Tidewater Gardens, will have to move this summer. She said she plans to return to where she raised her daughter once the area is redeveloped.
“My daughter and me. We will be back, ”said Hobbs. “We’re going to move somewhere, I’m not sure, but we’re on the right track.”
Not everyone feels the same.
“Are we really going to get what we promised?” Because it’s hard for me to see it, ”said Powell.
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority held an information session on Friday to discuss the right of return policy with residents and answer questions.
13News Now asked Susan Perry, Director of the St. Paul’s Redevelopment Project, what her response is to residents who are wondering if they will be able to return.
“That’s why we organize events like today. We want residents to know that by order of the council, we are guaranteeing residents the right to return, ”said Perry.
According to the city’s current plans, 710 of the new units in the St. Paul Quadrant will be subsidized and low-rental housing. City officials say residents who have had to relocate will be given priority to move in before the new homes open to everyone.
Perry said part of the Right of Return plan includes assisting residents every step of the way. The city will cover all lease termination costs and moving costs for residents who decide to return to the new communities.
The federal government gave the city a $ 30 million grant for the entire redevelopment project.
The first set of buildings in Tidewater Gardens were demolished in March. In May, other buildings in the Tidewater Gardens section are expected to be demolished.
“What do I really think every day, where are we going?” said Powell.
Norfolk City leaders direct residents who need relocation assistance to contact the People first Office.