Rules eliminate some from Chattanooga Housing Authority lottery

Rules eliminate some from Chattanooga Housing Authority lottery

May 18th, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in News

Loretta Tate watches her 5-year-old son Chandler swing from monkey bars on a playground near the Westside Community Public Housing Development in Chattanooga on Thursday. Tate is currently unemployed and she hopes to be selected for public housing in the Chattanooga Housing Authority lottery drawing on Friday but will not be eligible for public housing while she remains unemployed.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

CHANCE FOR A HOME

• The Chattanooga Housing Authority will host a lottery drawing for 100 applicants at Fairmount Avenue Townhomes and Maple Hills Apartments at 11 a.m. today at its main office at 801 N. Holtzclaw Ave.

• The agency will hold a lottery to select 75 Section 8 recipients at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The names will come from the pool of applicants who applied in October 2010.

FAIRMOUNT CELEBRATION

The grand opening for Fairmount Avenue Townhomes at 1311 Fairmount Ave. is 10 a.m. Wednesday.

People who didn't make the cut on the first drawing for apartments in the new Maple Hills and Fairmount Avenue public housing units have another chance today.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority initially selected 150 people in a lottery drawing to fill 51 housing units in its two newest public housing sites.

But not all of those people got an apartment.

Some couldn't or wouldn't make the commitment to be at work, school or both for least 30 hours a week, housing officials said. Others failed the criminal background check or were over income guidelines.

So CHA officials will have another lottery drawing at 11 a.m. today. Fairmount's grand opening is scheduled for May 23, and Maple Hills is expected to be ready for occupancy in July.

"You'd be surprised at the number of people who don't want to live by the rules," said Eddie Holmes, CHA board chairman. "With the new guidelines we have, you need to say you have a job or you need to say you're in school. A lot of people don't want to do that."

Holmes said public housing was never meant to be permanent, but some people have lived there through generations and are accustomed to not working.

Elderly and disabled residents do not have to meet the work or education requirement, CHA officials said.

Executive Director Betsy McCright said single people also were excluded because both sites feature two- and three-bedroom units.

Today's lottery is to create a waiting list for 18 townhomes at Fairmount Apartments and for 33 units of public housing at Maple Hills.

With 18 units, Fairmount Apartments is the only public housing site north of the Tennessee River. It includes environmentally friendly features such as solar panels and cost more than $4 million. Its children will be zoned into the award-winning Normal Park School.

Maple Hills Apartments, a $9.1 million development in East Chattanooga, is the newest housing site on the city bus line.

Loretta Tate said she's looking forward to another lottery drawing. She sat through the first one, but said her name never was called.

She doesn't have a job, but she says she's willing to work anywhere she can get hired if it means getting a house. Tate, a 30-year-old mother of two boys ages 5 and 7, says she's been living with friends and family and hopes her name will be pulled today.

"I'm tired of living from house to house and sleeping on people's floors," she said.