Federal grant to help redo housing project


Phoebe Williams has lived in the Alice Griffith Housing Project since 1970s. Wiliams and other residents of the old, dangerous complex call it "Double Rock." For years, there have been discussions of revitalization.

"I'm so very happy," said Williams. "I'm so very happy that it's finally happening."

Construction of new housing is not expected to begin for at least 18 to 24 months, but a $30.5 million grant from HUD wills fast track the project.

"There were 42 applicants for this new program. San Francisco will join just four other cities: Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle," said HUD Region IX administrator Ophelia Basgal.

Alice Griffith is already part of the city's ambitious plan to redevelop the former Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. The developer plans to replace all 256 public housing units and turn it into a mixed-income community.

"Lennar has been going around trying to get all the money," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. "They have the development rights and they have the permits. Now they have private investments coming in, but because of the HUD contribution, it advances that effort by at least a year."

The city has promised residents they will not be displaced. Residents will stay in their current units until the new housing is complete.

"I think it's real great that we got the grant," said Lavelle Shaw. "We just gotta make sure now that the grants going to go in good hands so that people use it in the way that's supposed to be used -- the effort to rebuild and revitalize Alice Griffith."

The city's redevelopment agency has already committed $30 million in local money, but the project is going to cost more than $200 million, so the grant from HUD is going to help.

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