Housing Authority expands and makes changes

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2014

NEW LOCATION: Picayune Housing Authority has a new location and is using the former location to add handicapped accessible units. Jodi Marze | Picayune Item

NEW LOCATION: Picayune Housing Authority has a new location and is using the former location to add handicapped accessible units.
Jodi Marze | Picayune Item

The Picayune Housing Authority, under the leadership of Mary E. Davis, is making big changes and expanding.

The Authority recently moved from its location at 1511 Seventh Ave. to its location at 821 Sixth Ave.

Davis announced that the former location will be demolished and two family housing units will be built which are Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards units.

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The new units will be handicapped accessible and help the housing authority meet their funding quota, Davis said.

The new units will be under contract for October 1 of this year or they will lose the funding, she said.

Changes have taken place on other properties are the Authority manages, such as The Pines.

The Pines is commonly misperceived as an assisted living facility because of its on-site manager security and emergency services systems, which include pull cords installed in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Davis said the pull cords were removed because the facility is truly a multi-family living facility and the on-site manager position was cut due to drastic reductions in Housing and Urban Development funding over the past consecutive three years.

Administrative Assistant Gloria Necaise said the fire alarm in The Pines was still connected to emergency services even though fire alarms within other Housing Authority units were not.

Another change for The Pines residents includes new exterior unit doors equipped with carbon locks.

Davis said the new locks are more secure than previous locks. In addition, two housing officers are assigned 12-hour-shifts, providing another layer of security.

Davis addressed the rumors that residents are not allowed to hang pictures or keep houseplants.

She said the rules restrict nails in the walls, but sticky adhesive is an approved alternative. She said this regulation keeps expenses down when someone moves out.

On a budget that is already stretched, filling nail holes can be expensive, and every little bit helps, Davis said.

Houseplants are allowed in the homes, but Davis said a recent incident with a resident growing his entire spring garden using light bulbs inside his home, forced them to take action.

“There was humidity in the dwelling and it was leading to deplorable conditions. These are homes and not meant to me indoor farms,” she said.

Another resident that Necaise recalls, had their entire front porch crammed with plants, with no space to walk through.

“When something becomes a potential hazard in an emergency situation we sometimes have to protect people from themselves,” Necaise said. “If there had been a fire in that home, the people inside could have been harmed because there was a blocked entrance due to those plants.”

Davis said that typical household plants in proper drainage containers are perfectly fine.

Davis said they plan on holding an open house at their new location, once the personnel get settled.