Public Housing Revitalization
KCHA does not limit community improvements to large-scale projects such as Greenbridge, Seola Gardens, and Birch Creek. We also direct substantial resources to the rehab of smaller public housing properties across the county.
The majority of KCHA housing was built in the 1960s and 1970s. As these properties age, they become more expensive to operate and maintain. With each passing year, features such as utility systems, building envelopes, and elevators come closer to the end of their useful life span.
To finance improvements, KCHA has used low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, and federal money – including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. These funds provide for structural upgrades and enhancements to energy efficiency and accessibility. They also help us keep our properties looking attractive. Together, these steps allow KCHA to extend the life of its public housing by 30 to 40 years.
Maintaining Critical Public Assets
To ensure that public housing remains available for years to come, KCHA upgrades many aspects of aging infrastructure. These include water, sewer, and electrical systems, as well as retrofits of windows, elevators, and roofs. When needed, we also seal exteriors with weather-resistant barriers, replace siding, upgrade community facilities, and repave parking lots. Many buildings have already received updated sprinklers and fire safety systems as well.
Boosting Energy Efficiency
Lower energy costs mean savings both for KCHA and the low-income residents we serve. To enhance energy efficiency in public housing we have chosen to:
- Increase insulation levels
- Install new windows and entry doors
- Replace toilets with water-conserving models
- Install water-efficient faucet aerators and showerheads
- Replace baseboard heaters with ductless split system heat pumps
- Install fluorescent exterior lights with daylight sensors
Depending on the property and methods used, these changes lower energy use by 10 to 25 percent.
Improving Housing Accessibility
Because most public housing was built in the 1960s and 1970s, its construction predates the Americans with Disabilities Act. To meet modern needs and standards, KCHA has converted many standard units to be fully accessible. Built to Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS), they feature modifications to:
- Living areas
- Interior doors
- Kitchens, including appliances
- Bathrooms, including showers and fixtures
These changes allow both disabled residents and seniors to live independently.
Enhancing Curb Appeal
By updating public housing on the outside as well as the inside, KCHA ensures that each property meshes with the surrounding neighborhood. Many buildings now feature more attractive exterior facades backed by low-maintenance fiber cement siding. Bright colors often replace monochromatic tones, and flat roofs sometimes give way to more stylish pitched roofs. We also add low-cost architectural details such as window shutters and siding textures to enhance visual interest.