Bad math for public housing in West Dayton

Kids playing basketball at DeSoto Bass basketball courts- with an Esrati supplied free green net

I hang nets at the Bass courts about 3x a year.

In the “you should have to pass a math test to be elected” file, we can add this pie in the sky malarkey plan by Greater Dayton Premier Management for building low income housing in West Dayton:

A $96 million proposal to transform public housing in West Dayton calls for demolishing Hilltop Homes, shrinking and replacing DeSoto Bass units, adding new mixed-income housing and making other investments.

The multi-phase project — which could take as many as 15 years to complete, depending on funding — seeks to replace obsolete housing with new units and break up concentrated pockets of poverty by more evenly dispersing subsidized housing across the community.

The project’s price tag is daunting, but the community has a shot of winning up to $30 million in federal funds to help make the plan a reality….

GDPM plans to demolish Hilltop Homes’ 150 units. DeSoto Bass Courts, which sits on a 45-acre-site at Germantown Street and Danner Avenue, would be reduced from 350 to 250 units, and old units will be replaced with new ones.

Hilltop was constructed in 1965, and DeSoto Bass was built in two phases, between 1942 and 1953.

About 100 new replacement units also would be developed either in other parts of West Dayton where there are more amenities or elsewhere in the city and Montgomery County, Patrick said….

Tarina White said she grew up in a public housing development in Youngstown and now lives in Hilltop Homes with her children.

White, 42, said she would like to see Hilltop torn down because it is old and deteriorating. GDPM estimates it would cost $28 million to modernize Hilltop Homes.

“If they can build some new homes, that would be good, and also some new playgrounds and a community center and better parks for the kids,” she said.

She said McCabe Park right now is “trashy,” which is a shame because it could be a nice public space.

Source: Dayton public housing: $96M plan could reshape area

Of course, Hilltop Homes is the stomping ground of our new School Board President, the Reverend William Harris- the one who hears 7 no votes- and says “The motion passes.”

Tarina White is right- Hilltop should be torn down- because it was crap housing to begin with. As to DeSoto Bass courts, it’s solid well built buildings- much like base housing built around the same time. Those homes are solid-the problem is the people they house don’t have jobs, and we’ve concentrated poverty. They need nearby jobs that pay well, and to realize that these small homes are ideal starter homes for young families. Add a fitness/rec center, a pool, some nice common areas- and this could be a solid community. Put community based policing right in the center and voila- instant nice neighborhood. Tie in Louise Troy, Wogaman and Dunbar as community schools- and make them all great schools- and people will want to live there.

But, the math part. Take the 500 units. Take 96 million dollars. Divide it by 500- and you get $196,000 per unit. I place a bet, if you gave each adult resident of those homes half that amount, to spend on a buying a single family home in West Dayton, and rehabbing it- especially in one neighborhood- you could have the next South Park. I bought my house for $14,500- put about $65K in it- and voila.

The problem with subsidized housing is that without the real jobs/or skills to fill those jobs- you can check in but you can never leave.

We have to figure out a way to bring back jobs to West Dayton- what we don’t need is new versions of the old poor peoples ghetto, which is what this plan is buying. Unfortunately, every new project that DMHA/GDPM has built- is just as crappy as Hilltop. Madden Hills- the savior of West Dayton in the late 80’s isn’t much better than the savior of the 40’s- The Bass.

We need holistic solutions to these very real problems. It’s not the houses, it’s not the people, it’s income inequality and pervasive inter-generational poverty.

Time to go back to the drawing board folks.

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David Esratikiya Patrick Recent comment authors
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kiya Patrick
kiya Patrick

The information reported was only related to the housing component of the plan. The full draft plan contains all of the components discussed in this post. The three core components are people, neighborhood and housing.

We are currently operating an on-site work force development program for which we secured funding at the same time we started this planning process. The program is an effort to prepare residents as you described. If true community change is desired, why not reach out for more information, have a conversation and engage in the planning process?

Most of us doing this work are doing the best we can with limited resources and are working on problems we did not create. The bureaucracy that we are subjected to -as a heavily regulated agency-does not lend itself to the same cost efficiencies that we see when you or I seek to complete construction work on our own homes.

We in no way pretend to have all of the best solutions, especially for multitude of issues our residents are facing. It takes a village. I offer that we meet to discuss workable solutions that we can consider in this community plan.

kiya Patrick
kiya Patrick

I agree David we most definitely need stronger affordable housing policy for the City. I will also check out what these other cities are doing. Thank you