Loveman Village was constructed in the early 1950s with 500 units. At that time, it represented a significant upgrade in terms of the quality of housing available for lower income and underserved residents in Birmingham. In recent years, not so much.
Loveman Village was a prime candidate for redevelopment for many reasons, and its revitalization has the potential for impacting the near west side of Birmingham and can be a catalyst and foundation for additional improvements planned in the neighborhood. Working with the Housing Authority Birmingham District (HABD) and supported in part by AHFA funding awards, Hollyhand Development is redeveloping Loveman Village in three phases.
Though outdated, Loveman Village still counted 246 residents when the redevelopment got under way. One of those residents, Adriene Gadsden, attended a HUD Section 3 job fair for HABD residents hosted by HABD and Hollyhand Development. Gadsden was identified as a potential candidate for an apprenticeship program available with Hollyhand Development. She interviewed and was selected.
In this role, Gadsden has used her computer skills to chart, on a building-by-building level and by resident family, the relocation options and choices for residents. She also has attended meetings with HABD and city officials to learn more about the development process. In addition, she is training to help produce a video of the process involved with the redevelopment. This whole process has given her input and insight into the redevelopment of the property that is her home.
In August 2017, HABD president and CEO told the Birmingham Times, “We have a robust community engagement department … that means we work with our residents and create a case management model that we link them to services so that within five years they become self-sufficient. One of the things we have to do as public housing officials is break the cycle of generational poverty and generational public housing. We’re doing that here in Loveman Village.”
It’s those services and resources that Gadsden has used as the foundation for building a bright future. The 30-year-old mother of two has completed an associate’s degree from a local community college and is now a junior at Samford University, pursing a degree in computer science. She is a recipient of a HABD employee-funded scholarship program and was recently named 2018 HABD Scholar.
“Working with Hollyhand Development is amazing,” said Gadsden. “The insight has allowed me to see the need for the multifamily homes, location and timeframes. To me, it added more knowledge to use in my career.”
Hollyhand Development Vice President Marcella Roberts said, “Working with Adriene has been a great experience. She brings a positive attitude and uses her technology skills to help advance the project in many ways. We are fortunate to work with her.“
The first phase of the Loveman redevelopment, The Park at Sydney Drive, consists of 120 units off Lakeshore Drive and was awarded $582,300 in 2016 Housing Credits and $10 million in Multifamily Bonds and will be completed in the summer of 2018. The Loveman site itself will be redeveloped in two phases as The Villas at Titusville. The first phase, which was awarded nearly $1.7 million in 2016 Housing Credits, is under construction and will consist of 100 units. The final phase will consist of 64 units. The entire redevelopment should be completed in late 2019.
To hear more of Gadsden’s story in her own words, visit https://vimeo.com/260783393.
Watch AHFA’s website and social media for updates as the phases of the Loveman redevelopment become complete and open to the public.