Local News

Durham Public Housing Gets 'A' from Feds

Posted May 17, 1998

— The Durham Public Housing Authority got an "A" from the federal government as a review of its public housing areas scored 97 out of a possible 100 on aDepartment of Housing and Urban Developmentsurvey. But not everyone thinks Durham deserves that grade.

At Forest Hills Heights, the flower beds are in full bloom and the buildings are neatly kept. For the most part, the residents like where they live.

"You [aren't] bothered with a whole lot of people going and coming and breaking in, so far, so i just love it," said resident Mattie Gore.

Some find it surprising that Forest Hills Heights, is part of Durham's Public Housing system. Seeing Forest Hills would make many people give Durham Public Housing an "A." But, Few Gardens is another story. It is more what most people think of when they think of public housing in the Bull City.

HUD didn't visit Durham for the assessment. Instead they relied on information provided by the Durham housing authority. Some of the neighbors think the feds need to drop by for a visit.

"I mean we could stand here now and someone could come through just shooting. It could be me that gets hit," said Few Gardens resident Anitra McCallum. So that's why i wouldn't want my kids outside. Anyone could just come through shooting. It could be one of my kids. There's been two incidents like that one here you know. So that's why i don't feel safe with my kids out."

The young mother of four doesn't think Few Gardens deserves an "A", but the housing authority says you have to keep the grade in perspective.

"No, it's never going to be perfect and we don't have enough resources to make it perfect," said Mary McCallister of DHA. "To make this into even anything that resembles luxury living."

This is the fifth consecutive year the federal government has named the Durham Public Housing Authority a high performer.

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