Fayetteville Public Housing Needs State Assistance

FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. -- - People living in one of Fayetteville's public housing developments could soon see the changes they've been hoping for. 

Deniece Smiley is the Executive Director for the Fayetteville Housing Authority. She said,"Public housing is a stepping stone. It's not where we just drop people off and ask them to live their life there."

Smiley said she has a passion for helping people because she knows all too well what it's like to be on the receiving end. "I grew up in Newport Arkansas and I lived in the project, that's what we called it and it was the housing authority."

Today, Smiley is fighting for the people living in Fayetteville's four housing authority properties to have a better way of life. 

She said the properties aren't aging well and have more problems than they can keep up with which is why they are requesting state funding.  "These units were built in the 70's and so some of the code requirements that are in effect now  were not in effect then and we're finding out that our plumbing/pipe issues are coming to light. "

The FHA said the cost to repair Willow Heights properties is going to be nearly two-million dollars. That's why they plan to build more properties at Morgan Manor."Our forty units at this time are not ADA accessible and in order for us to make them ADA accessible we have to have that additional financing which we don't have."

The housing authority has applied to the state of Arkansas for a low income tax credit in hopes of fixing the issues with the current properties and to build the new properties. 

Their goal is to convert all of the properties to section 8 housing which will essentially allow for more funding. 

"We get a loan from them, and then of course we'll have to repay that loan but that allows us to be able to have the financing to build the projects," said Smiley. 


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