published Friday, January 6th, 2012

Deadline for Fairmount and Maple Hills applications Saturday

All residents who live in Fairmount and Maple Hills Apartments will be required to participate in the Chattanooga Housing Authority's Upward Mobility Program, officials said.

With Fairmount scheduled for completion in March and Maple Hills in September, the sites will be the latest public housing built in the city.

"It's going to be a great self-starter for families to find themselves away from any type of government aid and to improve their overall living standards," said Jim Sattler, CHA board vice chairman.

CHA will accept applications for the Fairmount Apartments and Maple Hills lottery drawing by mail or sealed commercial delivery service that are postmarked on or before Saturday. It will also receive hand-delivered applications at 801 N. Holtzclaw Ave. from 7 a.m. to noon. on Saturday.

The lottery drawing is scheduled at the Chattanooga Housing Authority at 801 N. Holtzclaw at 10 a.m. Jan. 13.

Residents in the Upward Mobility Program must work or go to school at least 30 hours per week. The goal is to help families reach self-sufficiency and reduce their stay in public housing. However, the program will put no limit to the amount of time a resident may live at either site, according to housing officials.

Pete Lapina, a North Chattanooga homeowner near Fairmount site, said the announced lack of a time limit contradicts past CHA statements. He said the authority previously had said residents would be out in five years.

"They just changed," Lapina said. "It's not that it wasn't said or sold to us."

However, housing authority officials said they have never stated that residents had to be out of Fairmount in five years.

Longtime public housing resident Dorothy Roberts said the 30-hour a week work or school requirement may also have unintended consequences.

"(Thirty hours) is too much time to be spent away from the house," she said. "For a lot of people, the only parent in the house is Mama. Take [mothers] out of the house and you leave the children to the street. That's why you have the gangs."

The housing authority said Fairmount and Maple Hills residents may also choose to enroll in CHA's family self-sufficiency program, where families could save money over five years for a house or market-rate apartment, or to further their educations.

The family self-sufficiency program allows renters to lock in rent payments so that, if their incomes grow, they can put the excess in an escrow account. At the end of five years, renters who are no longer on public assistance can collect the savings. The goal is to coordinate with public and private resources to help residents reach their goals. Services might include child care, transportation, education, financial management and life skills, according to CHA.

Residents who move into Fairmount or Maple Hills but don't join the Upward Mobility Program within the designated time frame may be moved to another housing site, housing officials said.

Maple Hills is a $9.1 million 48 unit [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design} LEED-certified development located in East Chattanooga. The certification provides a third-party verification that a building, home or community was built to achieve high performance in key areas such as human and environmental health, sustainable site development and energy efficiency, according to the U.S. Green Building Council web site.

The $4.5 million 18-unit Fairmount Apartments is located in North Chattanooga, a community with a low concentration of poverty. Children from Fairmount will be zoned to attend Normal Park Museum Magnet School. The school was one of five in the nation selected for the John F. Kennedy Center School of Distinction Award in 2008.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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