Housing Authority Addresses Infrastructure and Community Services in Recent Meeting

By Beth Barhydt

On March 6, the New Canaan Housing Authority held a meeting at the New Canaan Town Hall, focusing on enhancing the local housing infrastructure and community services. The meeting, led by Chairman Scott Hobbs, saw active participation from Vice-Chairman Tim Welch, Treasurer Michael Sweeney, Secretary Bernard Simpkin, and Commissioner Peggy Dannemann.

Key among the discussions were the challenges faced in infrastructure improvements, especially concerning the Millport and Mill Apartments. The Housing Authority examined plans for parking lot maintenance and repaving, addressing the complexities due to material unavailability and weather conditions.

Safety standards and compliance with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines formed a significant segment of the discussion as the Housing Authority deliberated on essential actions to rectify issues like spider cracking in pavements to ensure safety and adherence to HUD standards. “HUD felt that the cracks need to be addressed,” a member stated.

Operational updates were also on the agenda, with the Housing Authority reporting the completion of elevator repairs and the replacement of appliances and furnaces in various units. Addressing communications and resident services was identified as a critical area for improvement. The Housing Authority acknowledged the need for more transparent and consistent communication strategies for notifying residents about routine maintenance needs, such as HVAC services and pest control. Given that there are 110 resident families, the Housing Authority recognized the complexity of coordinating such services. The Housing Authority is currently evaluating the systems in place and aims to continue enhancing them.

Financial and legal aspects were extensively reviewed, with discussions on strategies for managing accounts receivable and legal proceedings. The Housing Authority pointed to a slow but steady improvement in collecting overdue payments from Housing Voucher sources.

Future-oriented discussions also featured prominently, with the Housing Authority considering the addition of amenities like playgrounds and basketball courts, particularly for the children at the Millport apartments. The main challenge is the limited space available for such amenities, with the Housing Authority exploring alternative nearby opportunities to improve the living environment.

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