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Local News

Fairview Homes demolition approved, starts in November

The Housing Authority of Joliet plans to demolish the Fairview Homes public housing complex in November.
The Housing Authority of Joliet plans to demolish the Fairview Homes public housing complex in November.

Demolition of the Fairview Homes will begin in November, the Housing Authority of Joliet announced Tuesday.

Fairview Homes is the last of HAJ’s family public housing projects after two others were demolished in recent years and replaced with mixed-income developments and more modern housing.

There is no replacement planned for Fairview.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees HAJ, on Monday approved the demolition of Fairview.

HAJ has been planning on demolishing the 168-unit complex for years as it converts from low-income public housing apartments to mixed-income neighborhoods that include single-family homes, townhouses and duplexes.

Michael Simelton, chief executive officer of HAJ, called the HUD approval “awesome news.”

Simelton said Fairview residents will qualify for Section 8 vouchers that will allow them to move to homes anywhere in the U.S.

In the news release announcing the demolition, Simelton said, “The timing of this approval is ironic in that we are celebrating Independence Day, and the residents we serve will be provided assistance that will allow them a higher level of independence and improved quality of life.”

HAJ residents in the past have used the Section 8 vouchers to move elsewhere and have not returned to replacement developments despite having that option.

There will be no replacement development for Fairview Homes.

Unlike Poole Garden Homes, which was replaced by Liberty Meadow Estates, and Des Plaines Garden Homes, which was replaced by Water’s Edge, HAJ has no plans for the Fairview site.

HAJ does not want to build housing on the site because of the lack of nearby accessible services.

“The best thing for Fairview is what we’ve said. That is demolition,” Simelton said. “That’s at the heart of HUD’s deconcentration policy.”

Fairview has been a high crime area over the years, plagued by shootings and drawing extra police attention.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk in a written statement called the HUD approval “great news and long overdue.”

HAJ has been waiting for the expected HUD approval and had previously estimated that demolition could occur in late August. Relocation counseling services have been provided to residents since February.

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