ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Willie Thompson gets to enjoy his front porch again.
RAD program at Alexandria Housing Authority (KALB Photo)
After being relocated for four months, his home at Miracle Plaza, now called Tranquil Estates, in Alexandria is fully renovated.
"I love it. It’s quiet,” says Thompson. The neighbors are nice. I don’t think there could be a better place.”
All nine of the neighborhoods that make up the Alexandria Housing Authority are getting a makeover thanks to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) project, a HUD program that allows AHA to refurbish housing stock at all of their housing sites. AHA was approved to participate in the program in March 2015.
“It transitions us from public housing to affordable housing,” AHA Executive Director Joseph Page says. “The financing piece is put together with AHA money, tax credits, bonds and private investors.”
This makes it a shared partnership for the first 15 years of the program.
The one and two-bedroom units are equipped with new flooring, windows, fixtures, appliances, and a refurbished kitchen. Each unit also comes with an accommodating outdoor storage unit. The renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. “Without RAD, it would have cost $100 Million and taken us close to 30 years to complete,” Page says. With RAD, AHA can complete the project in 24 months. Alexandria is one of the only four cities in Louisiana that have participated in this current program.
Tranquil Estates on Miracle Drive will also have a resource center available to the residents for community meetings, gatherings, and programs that will focus on wellness and financial education. The City of Alexandria will partner with them to provide recreational programs for children. It’s something that Page, who has been a part of AHA since 2012, is extremely pleased with.
“It’s a labor of love for me. These are folks who work hard every day, with middle to low-income families. Just because they don’t make a lot of money, doesn’t mean they don’t need a decent place to live, “ says Page.
As for 72-year-old Willie Thompson, he says he couldn’t imagine living anywhere more comfortable. His connection with the property is significant; as a young contractor, he assisted in laying part of the foundation down for where the property sits.
“When they first built these apartments, I subbed-in to put in these footings,” says Thompson. “I never thought that I would be living over here. Back then when I was working (laughs), I would’ve never thought it.”
At the completion of the program, AHA will have nine renovated sites and 92 new units total. Any questions about the renovations and space available to rent can be answered by calling the Housing Authority at 318-442-8843.