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Changes coming to public housing in Waco

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Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 20:29:36-04

Change is on the horizon for thousands of people who live in Waco public housing. 

Sequita Johnson has lived at Kate Ross Homes for a year now. Kate Ross Homes is one of three low-income public housing properties in Waco.

Johnson said living there allows her to get the most of her fixed income.

"It's a blessing and it feels good because then I'm able to accomplish some of the other things that I want in life," Johnson said.

Johnson is one of nearly 2,000 residents filling 902 units at Kate Ross Homes, Estella Maxey Place and South Terrace Apartments.

Waco Public Housing President Milet Hopping said their focus is on helping those in poverty have pride in where they live.

Hopping said she wants to give more to the folks they serve. She said the apartments are in need of upgrades and renovations that they're unable to afford.

"If we want our residents to be just like everyone else, then those amenities should be in place," Hopping said. "Part of the problem is that the funding that allows us to modernize and take care of the property is being cut."

After dealing with financial strain due to Congress, the Waco Housing Authority is now trying to change its funding platform to a Section 8 project-based property. 

Hopping said the majority of changes would happen behind the scenes and not affect residents. Rent will not increase and residents will not be forced to move out.

"Their rent will still be calculated at 30 percent of their monthly income so not much changes for them, in that respect," Hopping said.

Johnson is looking forward to the positive change. She's working on earning her GED and she's happy to know she can stay in a place that's making her dreams within reach.

"Until they put me out," Johnson said. "Until they put me out or my goals succeed and I'm gone."

Hopping said the biggest inconvenience residents may have to deal with would be leaving their apartment temporarily so the necessary upgrades can be made.

She also expects to be pushing papers for the next six to eight months before the conversion actually happens.

The Waco Housing Authority has already helped a few meetings to discuss its plan with residents. Additional meetings will be held as the plan moves forward to give residents the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions.

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