In an effort to bridge the gap between subsidized housing and home ownership, the Dothan Housing Authority has purchased Eagle Bend Apartments on Hartford Highway.
According to DHA executive director Samuel Crawford, the purchase provides the authority a property that can be used as a transition for residents ready for advancement out of government-subsidized housing. Those ready for the advancement will not receive rent subsidies and will be responsible for their utility bills, he added.
“While we were deep in our strategic planning, we decided the original goal of HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) needed revisiting -- move people in, move them up, and move them out,” Crawford said. “(Eagle Bend) will be owned by the housing authority, but there are no subsidies involved. The residents will pay their own rent, pay their own utilities.”
Those latter aspects instill more responsibilities to the residents, therefore preparing them for future home ownership. Crawford said the Dothan Housing Authority would eventually like to construct its own “workforce class” housing similar to Eagle Bend Apartments to provide more of those opportunities.
The DHA will honor current Eagle Bend leases, and residents there will be given an opportunity to remain in the apartments should they so choose, Crawford said.
“People there are bridging the gap themselves,” he said. “We are in the business of putting people in houses. We don’t want to kick them out.”
The purchase totaled $750,000 and signals to other community groups that the DHA is ready to address housing issues in the Dothan area, including the shortage of affordable housing, Crawford said.
Crawford said Eagle Bend will be the first property DHA has owned where residents do not receive rent subsidies.