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Albany Housing Authority Announces Completion Of Phase I Of Ida Yarbrough Redevelopment

Albany Housing Authority
Artist Rendering of Completed Ida Yarbrough Homes

The first phase of redevelopment is complete at a former public housing unit in Albany.

This phase of the construction project includes 61 townhomes and garden apartments. Steve Longo is with the Albany Housing Authority:   "There are 2,3,4 and 5 bedrooms. They're for families below 50 percent of the median income. Already families have been moving every day from the former Ida Yarbrough units that were built in the 1970s into these new units."

Rent is set at 30 percent of a household's gross income.   "The buildings were all built to be air-tight with incredible insulation and low-cost lighting, LED lights. But what's really cool here is that we have a grant from New York state to enjoy a green roof. So when you go outside, it's not really noticeable today because we're in the winter, but come spring it can be pretty exciting because all the roofs are alive, they’re green, and they help holding up to 2 inches of rainwater before it goes into the city sewer system, but also for the residents that are paying utility bills, it's like a blanket laying over the house to keep air conditioning and heating costs down."

Construction began in July 2016 and was completed on budget and on schedule, according to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan:   "They really took some of the lessons that they learned from earlier projects where they had challenges. For example, carpeting. A lot of people have allergies. Carpeting is not really the best product, so they used an engineered wood product for the flooring that's more stable, more durable and will last longer. Really looking at how families live today with a more open concept, and so it really takes into account what the Housing Authority has been able to learn over the years and to provide housing that really meets the needs of families today."

Longo says all units have been assigned to new residents who will be moved in by the end of the year. 76 additional units will be added in Phase II of the project, set to begin later this winter.

A third phase, which would offer opportunities for home ownership, is under consideration.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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