The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is leaning on the Perry County Housing Authority to get its 17 percent vacancy rate down to less than 5 percent as quickly as possible.
That"s a tough job in a housing program that has 350 apartments in a changing housing market.
To that end, executive director Stephanie Hubler and her staff are on a mission to make public housing an attractive option in buildings that cross four decades of construction.
And, she and her staff are getting it done. Here"s a quick sampling. Twelve one-bedroom apartments in the BelAire Towers complex on North Division Street are being turned into six modern two-bedroom apartments. Other apartments in the system are getting makeovers. And, what were largely variable low income apartments now have a rent ceiling that make them even more attractive.
This week, the housing authority demolished the first of two buildings they plan to raze near the Du Quoin High School football field.
"Perry County Housing Authority serves the communities throughout the county with income based apartments consisting of single, family and elderly and disabled, with a limited amount of accessible units. We are looking to expand the communities" knowledge and perception of the Housing Authority," Hubler said.
"We currently have approximately 350 apartments that are spread throughout Du Quoin, Pinckneyville, Tamaroa, Cutler and Willisville. Our elderly and disabled apartments are located at the Robert Phipps Complex in Du Quoin and the Dean Bartle Complex in Pinckneyville. In Du Quoin, we have single and family apartments located at South, Walnut, West Park and Maple streets and other various locations. In Pinckneyville, our single and family units are located at Diamond Terrace and Victory Addition. We also have single and family apartments located in Willisville, Cutler and Tamaroa," she said.
"Perry County Housing Authority has been in the process of updating the image of our apartments," Hubler adds. "We have improved the landscaping at the Robert Phipps Complex. This complex is also about to get refaced with new windows. We have converted single units into family units at our Cutler location and are in the process of doing the same at the Bel Aire Towers location in Du Quoin. Dean Bartle in Pinckneyville will also receive updated landscaping in the near future," she said.
"The changes we are conducting at PCHA are to provide our residents with cleaner, safer, and more attractive apartments. We are striving to make each apartment a better home for our residents," she said.
For more information, come by the office at the Robert Phipps Complex, located at 120 South Walnut Street, Du Quoin, or by phone 618-542-5409. You can also visit the website at perrycountyhousing.org or find it on Facebook.