The Durham Housing Authority maintains 14 conventional public housing communities located throughout the city: McDougald Terrace, Scattered Sites, Oldham Towers, Cornwallis Road, Liberty Street, Club Boulevard, Hoover Road, J.J. Henderson Housing Center, Morreene Road, Damar Court, Oxford Manor, Forest Hill Heights and Laurel Oaks. These communities provide a total of 1,706 dwelling units. Public housing communities play a vital role in sheltering a city or town’s most vulnerable populations, and in doing so, they require unique planning approaches in order to address their preparedness needs. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 Housing Authorities. Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families (HUD.GOV).
IHSWD is collaborating with Durham Housing Authority to implement a strategy that strengthens the resiliency of public housing communities by enhancing the focus of local emergency plans on public housing residents and increasing individual and family disaster preparedness for those living in public housing communities. Historically, many public housing residents have been low income, single families with the mother as head of household. When disasters and critical emergencies occur, residents must be prepared to coordinate logistics for school-aged children, find short term and possibly long-term housing, and provide for their children’s food, clothing, and hygiene needs. These are challenges faced by all affected by a natural disaster or critical emergency: however, for low income, vulnerable families impacted by a disaster, the physical and psychological stress during recovery can be particularly traumatic.
The vision of the Durham Housing Authority is that Durham becomes a model community for affordable housing with a diverse housing portfolio for moderate and low income families, a quality housing safety net for temporary, transitional and special populations and new developments with affordable housing choices.