What’s Happening in ABLA?


ABLA Homes residents recently received word that their development has received some $24 million from a federal HOPE VI grant. In this article, ABLA LAC President Deverra Beverly examines some of the steps that led to that success.

ABLA instituted a front line feeding program in 1990. This program feeds over 1200 people weekly, 144,000 yearly.

This program is being relocated for vendors. The ABLA community is very concerned regarding when the vendors will arrive. When and if this takes place, the Food Program should be located at the same address, 1254 S. Loomis, and takes place between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and not in the evening at 8 p.m. If the weather is adverse or unsuitable, the person or persons can eat inside. 8 p.m. is too late for children to come to the food site to eat.

The consolidation in ABLA of CHA housing was instituted after Congress passed laws giving special attention to developments with more than 300 residents which have more than 10 percent of their units vacant. This situation applies to each section of ABLA’s development. We have five different sections of ABLA:

Jane Addams 3-4 Walk-Up 994 units

Robert Brooks Row Houses 835 units

Robert Brooks Ext. 3-16 Stories 450 units

Abbots Homes 7-15 Stories High Rise 1200 units

Loomis CT. 2-7 Stories 140 units

The ABLA Local Advisory Council (LAC) conducted a meeting with the residents explaining the Consolidation Program. Present also was:

Joyce Morgan of the Central Advisory Council (C.A.C.)

Tom Finnerty, ABLA’s Planning Coordinator

John Nelson, CHA Deputy Executive Director of Operations

Ed Moses, CHA Deputy Executive Director of Resident Programs

Joe Shuldiner, Executive Director of CHA

Edwin Eisendrath, HUD representative and CHA Chairman

Dortha Tyler, Development manager, ABLA – B

Dave Cain, Development Manager, ABLA – A

Andy Rodriguez, Director of Construction Management

A planning committee was established. Tom Finnerty was our advisor and planner. Seventeen residents from each section of ABLA were elected to be on the committee.

We, as residents of ABLA, are aware of the problems and concerns of our neighbors and what they will hear from insiders and outsiders. Change is not easy until you recognize the change. Residents have heard false promises and commitments that were not honored.

The ABLA community has informed our residents to register and VOTE.

The ABLA community was very impressed with the newly-appointed general manager, Fred Wagner. In September, Mr. Wagner, myself, members of the LAC Council and the Planning Committee attended a meeting. This meeting was to provide correct information to those who were misinformed. Mr. Wagner was requested to attend the meeting per the LAC Council.

Mr. Cain, manager of ABLA – A, has been extremely supportive of ABLA’s residents regarding the consolidation and planning process. It is important that correct information be provided to our residents. In September, Mr. Wagner conducted a second survey to ensure that residents were aware of their options and choices regarding the consolidation.

It was also proposed that Section 8 staff members would come to ABLA and interview residents who were interested in Section 8.

Seminars will be conducted in ABLA regarding jobs and training in early October. Employers will come to the Duncan YMCA to interview and possibly hire residents..

Also, Ed Moses, per agreement with the Local Advisory Council, is planning to bring a program called American Work Partnership to ABLA. With completion of this program, over 500 public housing residents will be full-fledged union apprentices working for a decent wage.

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