Future of public housing in Danville remains uncertain

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Over the past decade, communities across the country have demolished or sold hundreds of thousands of public housing units.

Danville is aiming to be such a community.

Though it has yet to redevelop a single public housing unit, city officials and housing authority administrators are grappling over the future of Fair Oaks, the area’s largest family-occupied public housing complex.

What’s more, city officials have also been slapped with a housing discrimination complaint based on a city plan to reduce public housing by more than half.

Produced by Landon Cassman

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City, housing authority grapple over public housing

Fair Oaks is the largest public housing complex in the city of Danville and represents the densest part of the city. Built in 1942, the complex contains 326 family units packed in uniform red brick townhouses on more than half a square mile of land.

The Fair Oaks complex is surrounded by factories and warehouses – some vacant. There’s only one convenience store within walking distance and it’s at least two miles to any schools or grocery stores.

Fair Oaks resident Corey Dorsey doesn’t think this is fair.

“It’s inhumane, if you ask me, you know what I’m saying,” said Dorsey. “We separated from all the stores, we not around anybody, we have really nobody but us.”



Map: Black residents in Danville and public housing

This map is a dot-density map that shows where black residents live in Danville in relation to public housing.

A dot-density map means that one dot represents a number. This type of map helps better visualize patterns.

Public housing was established by the federal government to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Today, there are more than 1.2 million public housing households nationwide.

Low-income housing advocates estimate that about 10,000 public housing homes are demolished or sold every year.


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