Johnson Homes

Dothan's largest public housing complex, Johnson Homes, is getting closer to a major renovation as Dothan Housing Authority members will consider funding agreements for the project next week.

Dothan Housing Authority officials appear ready to move forward with a “transformation” at Johnson Homes as its board will soon consider financing options for a major project.

Next week DHA board members will consider approval of a master development agreement with The Banyan Foundation followed by a proposed financial plan. The Banyan Foundation is one of several entities involved in Howell School’s conversion to affordable senior-living apartments and offered the best proposal for Johnson Homes, said Samuel Crawford, DHA executive director.

The project stems from DHA leaders’ desire to convert all of their properties to Section 8 housing. The maneuver allows the local housing board to have more control over property improvements while giving residents more opportunities to advance toward home ownership.

The conversion to Section 8 makes little to no impact on the rent amounts tenants pay.

“(Government housing) comes with a stigma,” Crawford said in a July Eagle article. “We’re now working with architects and designers to see what we could look like down the road. If it doesn’t transform it where you don’t recognize it, we don’t want it. These are no longer the projects and the baggage that comes with that.”

Crawford said officials have considered some concepts but not set an official design or plan for Johnson Homes.

When the DHA board meets Wednesday at 9 a.m., it will debate a few funding options – each with various impacts. If commissioners opt for a plan that includes tax credit funding, it means that ownership of Johnson Homes will be split between The Banyan Foundation and Dothan Housing Authority until the tax credits expire, Crawford said.

As the credits diminish, DHA accepts more ownership of the project, he added.

Tax bonds, combined with conventional financing, means DHA will maintain all of the ownership of Johnson Homes. Crawford said commissioners may decide to accept plan with tax credits, which are aiding the Howell School project, since it provides more funding.

Johnson Homes is DHA’s largest complex at 214 units. Combined with the scope of work to be done, the Johnson Homes project represents the largest improvement efforts DHA officials are initiating, he added.

The meeting will occur in the board’s chambers, located at 602 South Lena St.

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