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Norwalk Housing Authority hires company for Washington Village people management

NORWALK, Conn. – Construction has not yet begun on Washington Village due to what Norwalk Housing Authority leaders call a “delay,” but progress is being made.

About $2.3 million will be spent by NHA to help Washington Village residents as a new home is built for them and the neighborhood around the area transforms.

The $2.35 million professional services agreement with Housing Opportunities Unlimited (HOU) of Boston and the Housing Authority was approved at the last NHA board meeting. The money comes out of the $30 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods grant.

“One of the goals of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative program is that every family is better off as a result of the Choice Neighborhoods program taking place there so they’ll be working with each family,” NHA Deputy Director Candace Mayer said.

Although Mayer said in July that she expected construction on Phase I of the project to begin in October, that has been “delayed” for a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection public hearing about building the project in a flood plain, NHA Executive Director Curtis Law said.

The hearing was requested by the Friends of Ryan Park and will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at the South Norwalk Community Center, DEEP Communications Director Dennis Schain said. That will be followed by an evidentiary hearing Dec. 19 in Hartford, he said.

Law said he would be meeting with the project’s developer Wednesday to discuss who will be hired to work on the project. It’s been a sore point, he said, but the delay may have been a good thing because it allowed for a lengthy meeting on the topic last week.

“I think for the first time they understand what they are looking at,” Law said. “We are going to try to the best of our ability to create businesses, not just send out flyers and you come and sign up. … We want to make sure there is an opportunity for folks to get in on the ground floor.”

Law said he was talking about labor jobs, and a concerted effort would be made to give project and community members the opportunity. A recent outreach effort at The Brewhouse was not the type of outreach NHA had in mind, he said. The South Norwalk Community Center will be involved, he said.

Norwalk Housing Authority board Chairman Cesar Ramirez said he would take information to pastors to reach the Hispanic community.

Law said Housing Opportunities Unlimited is already working in Norwalk. “They are on board now and working without a contract, working across the street in our old office,” Law said.

The contract is for 4½ years. HOU will do “extensive case management services,” Mayer said. Several firms were interviewed in fall 2012 with the help of Washington Village residents, and HOU was the highest rated by the group, she said.

“They have 20 years of experience doing very similar services throughout the country with the Hope VI program,” Mayer said.

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One response to “Norwalk Housing Authority hires company for Washington Village people management”

  1. Screwed Taxpayer

    Let the graft begin

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