Middletown’s housing units to receive $45 million in upgrades

There are five buildings in the city; work expected to begin 24 months after closing.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The five Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority buildings in Middletown are scheduled to receive a $45 million facelift, according to Ben Jones, executive director of the BMHA.

During his presentation last week to City Council, Jones said the five units are John Ross Hunt Towers on South Clinton Street, Townhomes on North Verity Parkway, Townhomes East on 18th Avenue, Townhomes West on South Main Street and Concord Green on Concord Avenue.

The upgrades to the 361 units will include new HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofs and landscaping and average $112,000 per unit, according to Jones.

“Just short of a gut rehab” is how Jones described the rehabilitation. “Like new.”

He expects work to begin within 24 months after closing in the first quarter of 2023.

Council member Tal Moon asked Jones if any consideration was given to tearing down the towers and rebuilding. He said due to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations, BMHA isn’t permitted to demolish and rebuild.

Jones told council members that BMHA has two primary programs that promote affordable housing: Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), or Section 8.

In the Public Housing program, BMHA owns the rental properties and acts as the landlord. It collects rent, maintains the properties and deals with issues related to the tenants, according to his presentation.

BMHA owns about 1,100 apartment units in Butler County and 580 of them, or 53%, are in Middletown, he said. The other 520 are located in Hamilton, he said.

When questioned by Moon why there are no Public Housing units in other parts of the county, Jones said no money is available to build units.

In the HCV program, private parties own the rental properties. He said the private parties who own the properties must qualify under regulations from HUD. Those private parties act as the landlord collecting rent, maintaining the properties and dealing with tenant issues.

HUD limits rent of 30% of a Public Housing tenant’s adjusted gross income.

Condrey said that Section 8 housing has been a “hot topic” with Middletown residents because some of them believe there are too many vouchers available.

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