HUD Approves Demolition of Dunbar Village One Year after Vicious Attack

Portion of apartments at complex where mother and son were brutally attacked will be torn downWASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today gave the West Palm Beach Housing Authority (WPBHA) approval to demolish 13 buildings at the notorious Dunbar Village public housing complex in West Palm Beach. The 36 apartments that will come down are in the complex where a mother and her then 12-year-old son were violently attacked in June 2007.

“While demolishing this housing will not erase the horrible act that took place in this community, we hope it illustrates the housing authority and HUD’s commitment to redevelop affordable housing in a safe neighborhood for families,” said Paula Blunt, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. “With this approval, we see better opportunities coming for future generations.”

WPBHA submitted an application to HUD in October 2007 requesting that HUD approve the demolition of 13 buildings that comprise of 36 public housing units that were “significantly distressed and obsolete, subjecting the tenants to hazardous living conditions.” This initial request to dispose of units at Dunbar Village is part of an overall plan the housing authority has to redevelop the 246-unit complex built in 1940.

The homes were built using the barrack-style design common to most public housing constructed during that era. The buildings that were approved for demolition today have become structurally obsolete, with eroding foundations, with grade dropping 12 or more inches. Over the years, crime and violence have also plagued the community.

The units included in the request were all vacant and WPBHA said in its application that it intends to use the property to develop more affordable housing in a mixed-income community, as well as retail and commercial properties.

Annually, HUD receives numerous applications from public housing authorities across the country requesting approval to demolish or dispose of public housing units, building or land. It reviews the applications to determine if they meet HUD’s criteria for demolition or disposal, which includes that the properties’ physical condition, location and other factors that make it unsuitable for housing purposes with no reasonable cost-effective modification.

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HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

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