The drain line for Lloyd Williams’ air conditioning unit clogged again last month, soaking the carpet in his one-bedroom apartment.
It was familiar territory for the 67-year-old who lives in Rose Gardens, North Las Vegas’ only public housing complex.
Williams said his air conditioning, sink and bathtub have clogged almost 10 times since 2013, when he moved into the complex for seniors. He found out his upstairs neighbor’s air conditioning also malfunctions when water trickled into his apartment.
Maintenance workers typically take care of the problems in 24 hours, Williams said, but he once waited four days for them to fix the tub.
“They’re on top of this stuff pretty good, but the problem is they just can’t keep up with it all,” he said.
The 42-year-old Rose Gardens is feeling the effects of time.
Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority records show that more than 1,700 emergency and urgent work orders have been placed at the 120-unit complex over the past three years. Nearly half were related to plumbing.
Relief on the way
The federal government has estimated that completing necessary repairs and upgrades Rose Gardens would cost nearly $12.5 million, but there are no plans to rehabilitate the old building.
Instead, the housing authority will build a new Rose Gardens at Tonopah Avenue and Yale Street, across the street from the current building. The project is part of a larger initiative by the city of North Las Vegas to improve the surrounding neighborhood.
“Overall it will be an energy-efficient building, a water-smart building,” said Amparo Gamazo, the housing authority’s interim executive director. “The residents are living in a very tired and old building that the systems are failing. In the new building we’ll go through an adjustment in the beginning, but we should not have any of those (problems) they’re having right now.”
The new complex will cost an estimated $21.6 million and have 102 one-bedroom units and 18 two-bedroom units. The current building will be razed after the new one opens.
Rebirth through RAD
Rose Gardens’ rebirth will be facilitated through the federal government’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which allows housing authorities to form public-private partnerships and borrow private money to repair and rebuild public housing.
“It has allowed for a mechanism to address this backlog of repairs we’ve seen needed in the nation’s public housing stock,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman Ed Cabrera said. “Prior to RAD — outside of federal funding — there wasn’t really any source of capital for this type of investment.”
The regional housing authority has partnered with the nonprofit Nevada HAND to build, own and manage the new Rose Gardens. Rent for residents should not increase from the current rate of 30 percent of their adjusted income.
HUD has approved 10 more public housing properties for the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, Amparo said. The modernization of the 100-unit, 44-year-old Espinoza Terrace in Henderson is expected to start in spring.
Program has local history
Rose Gardens will be the fourth Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority property rebuilt or rehabilitated through a public-private partnership.
Last year the housing authority made improvements to the Vera Johnson Manor B family apartments and the 31-year-old Biegger Estates just north of Henderson. Landsman Gardens, the first public housing complex for families in Clark County, was torn down and rebuilt.
Donna Dinnauer, a resident of the community since 1999, said her family lived in another local public housing project for about three years before moving back to Landsman Gardens after it reopened in 2015.
She’s pleased that her home no longer has a roach problem or black mold growing in the corners of her ceiling; but there has been a downside. Dinnauer said her rent has increased by about $30 since she moved back.
“My income hasn’t changed, but they want to charge me more,” she said.
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.