HAWS planning another revamp

October 15
00:00 2014

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem has received a half-million dollar grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to explore ways to breathe new life into Cleveland Avenue Homes and Sunrise Towers.

Working with residents and community groups, the Housing Authority says a plan will be developed to not only alter the decaying housing complexes, but infuse the area with economic and educational resources. Committees, which residents will be asked to serve on, will be formed to address housing, employment, health and safety.



“We are working with local community groups, churches, hospitals, municipalities, nonprofit groups, universities and community colleges … on (the) committees to determine what are the underlying problems, what are some of the solutions and what the community should look like,” said Housing Authority CEO Larry Woods.

The agency touted its goal on Saturday, Sept. 27 during a daylong community celebration in Cleveland Avenue Homes – a sprawling public housing complex off 14th and Liberty streets.

“There were over 400 individuals that participated,” Woods said. “It was very positive. We had vendors there that had never before come into the community and they were very excited. The community was very pleased that someone was trying to take a look at their situation and trying to improve it.” 

The Cleveland Avenue area has been a focus of the Housing Authority recently. It built and opened The Oaks at Tenth (Street) this year exclusively for working public housing clients. A block away, construction vehicles are making way for another complex – Camden Station. Both projects are sandwiched between Cleveland Avenue Homes and Sunrise Towers – an aging high-rise for senior citizens and those with disabilities.

Combined, The Oaks at Tenth and Camden Station cost about $9 million – money that was mostly secured by the agency through bank loans. Whatever plan is devised for Cleveland Avenue Homes and Sunrise Towers will be much more costly. Woods is hoping the agency will be eligible to apply for a federal Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant, which he said could be between $17 million and $30 million.

Mattie Young is known as “The Mayor” of Cleveland Avenue Homes, where she has lived since 1972. She said she is onboard with any plan that includes opportunities for economic advancement for public housing residents.

Mattie Young at the recent community celebration.

Mattie Young at the recent community celebration.

“If it is going to bring in jobs, I think it is a pretty good idea,” she said. “The people who live in the area and the city need the jobs.”

Young, who is also president of the neighborhood association, hopes the plan also addresses ways to rid the area of crime.

“The neighborhood is infested with drugs. There are people selling drugs all the time, and I think this will help weed out the drug situation,” she said. “That’s my biggest problem now. These people come over here – they don’t live here – to sell their drugs.”

The Housing Authority has payed almost $250,000 to a Washington, D.C.-based architectural firm to create a plan for the neighborhoods that includes mixed-income, mixed-use housing that it hopes will attract retailers to service the community.

“We want to set up an environment that will stimulate and promote employment, business opportunities, improve health systems, availability and accessibility to transportation and reconnect that particular neighborhood back into the city grid,” said Woods, who said implementation of the plan will start in 16 months. “It is a big vision that the local community is working with us on to crystalize.”

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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