The Prospect Tenant Association met in Central Park on Thursday, with State Rep. Frank Burns also attending. The association provided updates after meeting with the Johnstown Housing Authority.
“The tenants that want to be relocated can free of charge on behalf of JHA, The tenants that need to be relocated that are unhappy can relocate. As soon as the Johnstown Housing Authority, and that’s probably going to take anywhere from 6 to 8 months to bid on the contractors for the rebuilding of our homes. They’re going to let us know and if the contractors need help, us tenants are going to be allowed to help with the rebuild.”
So far, we do not have any confirmation from the housing authority that any rebuilding or refurbishing process will take place. State Rep. Burns obtained public records from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following a freedom of information act request three months ago.
“What we found out there is that the decision to shut Prospect down was not a decision made by HUD, it was a decision made locally here, It was made by the Johnstown Housing Authority to evacuate Prospect simply because ceilings fell in one of the units, they made the decision to rush everybody out of there.”
At a previous JHA monthly meeting residents in attendance said they were told by a JHA board member that “HUD calls the shots” when discussing the forced evacuations of more than 100 tenants. In the documents obtained by rep. Burns HUD’s public affairs specialist wrote that HUD provides funding and other services to the JHA and “we can clarify that we don’t own any of the housing or directly manage it.”
“What is it going to cost to replace or redo prospect?, “What is the actual cost to get these people back into their homes and get the Prospect community vibrant again. They’re failing to provide that information and they’ve had plenty of time to get somebody up there to evaluate the situation but we’re hoping they can provide the details so the public knows exactly what it costs.”
We reached out to the Johnstown Housing Authority for comment but have not yet heard back.