Housing authority to apply for grant

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany City Commission gave approval Tuesday for the Albany Housing Authority to apply for a $1 million federal grant that, if awarded, would allow the authority to completely transform an entire inner-city neighborhood.

The project would be on a scale yet unseen in Albany and would target a neighborhood with some of the highest per-capita poverty in Southwest Georgia, Housing Authority Executive Director Dan McCarthy said.

“We’re trying to decentralize the poverty by getting into these neighborhoods and transforming them into places where you have a mix of development and a diverse set of economic and social backgrounds,” McCarthy said.

The grant wouldn’t apply to just government-owned housing, although McCarthy did say that part of the funding would be used to demolish some of the existing government housing stock in the area. The idea would be to go into the neighborhood just south of Third Avenue, just East of Albany High School and West of the Flint River, and rid the community of vacant or blighted homes, increase the police and code enforcement presence and build new items like urban gardens and sidewalks that will help facilitate local foot travel and investment.

The Housing Authority has already been awarded a grant to begin planning the project. All the group has to do now is earn one of the six $1 million grants that are being awarded nationally.

“We’ve got to stop the spread of urban blight and urban decay from reaching the neighborhoods around the area,” McCarthy said. “To do that, we need to break down the silos that the different community and private organizations find themselves in and get their buy-in to the program as well.”

If the funding is awarded, McCarthy said that he hopes it will spur involvement from other private and non-profit organizations in the community to help out.