Columbus, GA (WTVM) - Several public housing neighborhoods across the Fountain City are seeing big changes to the property.
The Columbus Housing Authority has seen continued progress on a long-term, multimillion-dollar renovation project.
The agency's goal, according to officials, is to provide residents with new roofs, bathrooms and a fresh coat of paint, among other improvements. However, there will be one key change.
"It switches from public housing to project-based vouchers, more commonly known as the Section 8 program," said Len Williams, CEO of the CHA.
Once renovations at Wilson Homes, Nicholson Terrace, Farley Homes, and EJ Knights Apartments are finished, they will all officially become Section 8 affordable housing.
Williams said this will give the agency room to pursue more funding options and require less oversight of federal regulations. He also said this $37 million renovation is not, however, being funded by the local taxpayer.
"The money is a combination of tax credit equity, private mortgage and housing authority (H.U.D) funds," Williams said. "We're renovating the property to a 15-20 year standard, so we think it's a great thing for the residents and the entire community.”
Some of the responses to these renovations at Wilson Homes have been positive, like that of Shakiyla Williams, who said she and other residents have started to feel a little safer at night.
"Because I stay on the good part, it makes me feel like I'm not in the projects. It makes me feel kind of better, you know," she said. "It looks nicer, it feels nicer, it's kind of quiet over here.”
More change is expected. The housing authority has plans to renovate Chase, Canty and Williams homes, converting them to Section 8 as well.
Already more than half of the city's 1,300 public housing units have been converted to Section 8.
The Columbus Housing Authority also stated the renovations on these four properties are expected to be completed later this summer.