Public invited to speak Thursday night on Norfolk’s annual public housing plan

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk residents will get the chance to weigh in on the city's public housing plan for next year Thursday night.

This includes the redevelopment of the St. Paul’s area.

During the meeting, the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority will hear public comments on its complete five year plan and their yearly plan for programs.

As for the redevelopment of the St.Paul’s area, more than 4,000 people will be impacted.

The city plans to demolish and redevelop Tidewater Gardens, Young Terrace, and Calvert Square. That's close to 1,700 units.

Norfolk city officials said the area, which is near Downtown, is full of poverty, old homes and flooding problems.

The NRHA said they will work with the neighbors to figure out what's best for them. This could mean getting a voucher for section 8 housing, moving to other public housing, or staying and moving into the future development.

They also want to help residents become self-sufficient, but some people still feel like they’ll be left out in the cold.

“Even though they say no one will be left out, no one will be homeless – there’s still a feeling there that there’s still going to be somebody, some family that’s going to be homeless,” said Anjenette Hodges, who lives in the area.

Officials say the project is needed to improve the quality of life for their tenants.

“Demolition will have to be a part of the equation,” Barbara Hamm Lee, the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority Chair, said. "There's horrible flooding, the walls are cinder block. These were built in the 1940s and '50s and they were meant to be temporary."

The plan is to replace the building’s with mixed-use housing. There likely won’t be any demolition taking place until early 2020. The entire transformation of the area will take at least ten years to complete.

Registration to speak Thursday night starts at 5:30 p.m at Ruffner Middle School. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.