HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Residents are on the move in a Hampton public housing neighborhood. Lincoln Park was approved for demolition a year ago.
WAVY.com checked in on the process. According to Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority Executive Director Ronald Jackson, more than 60 percent of the residents have moved to new locations. But, there are still about 50 families looking for housing.
“I think it’s exciting and thrilling,” said Eleanor Brown, who is the HRHA Board Chairwoman. “But, scary at the same time because change is hard.”
Many residents of Lincoln Park are excited for the fresh start. However, some don’t want to leave as they’ve lived in the public housing community for decades.
“Lincoln Park as it was, and is now, is not sustainable,” said Brown.
Jackson said funding issues on a federal level mean HRHA didn’t have the funding to maintain Lincoln Park. The community, which Brown and Jackson said is antiquated, was built in the 1970s.
Jackson said there are plans to build a mixed income community. The future neighborhood would be a “diverse style of housing” with town homes and garden style apartments. Jackson said other housing authorities have found success developing mixed income communities in recent years.
“Not to reconstitute low income,” said Jackson. “But, to bring in a mix of incomes. That seems to be a lot more sustainable.”
A relocation team has been working out of the Lincoln Park high rise. HRHA and the relocation team have held meetings, worked with social services departments in the city, and held housing fairs with local landlords to find residents new housing in Hampton.
“Landlords come out and interview the residents to see that they’re just like anyone else they would rent to in the private market,” said Jackson.
The executive director said housing fairs have given landlords the opportunity to get to know the residents.
“We do just want to make sure that people are comfortable wherever they’re going to go,” said Jackson.
Kathryn Jones is a Lincoln Park resident who found out her application for a new apartment was approved recently. Jones said the apartment search has been a smooth process for her and her family.
“They helped me get everything together,” said Jones of team helping residents find new housing.
Jones said many of her neighbors have moved out. She’s been excited about the opportunity for a new place to live.
“I was ready,” said Jones. “But, you have to be patient.”
Although, not all residents want to leave. Some have lived in Lincoln Park more than 40 years.
“Some of the families, this is home,” said Jackson. “So that’s why we try to be really empathetic.”
HRHA said they are looking for landlords throughout Hampton that have housing available for Lincoln Park residents. Most residents have tenant protection vouchers that covers up to 70 percent of their rent.
Jackson said after all residents have moved out, the Lincoln Park buildings will be boarded up. HRHA leaders hope to sign a demolition contract by the end of the year.