OHA launches $653K project

Published 12:01 am Friday, April 26, 2013

A $653,000 project at the Opp Housing Authority means 12 disabled people will soon have a new, handicapped-accessible apartment.

Beverly Bell Barber, OHA director, said the funds will be used to renovate nine apartments for those with mobility issues and another three for those with visual and hearing impairments.

“This is an exciting project,” Barber said Thursday. “It’s the biggest project of its kind for a facility like this in Opp in my memory.”

Barber said the project will be paid for using operating and capital improvement funds from HUD.

“There is a great need for housing for the handicapped,” Barber said. “We can’t meet all of the need, but we’re trying to meet some of that.”

Inside the apartment, one will find wider doorways, lowered cabinets, sinks and faucets and other federally-mandated requirements.

Work will be performed by a local construction company – Catrett Construction of Opp – and be completed by Oct. 10.

“That’s another thing that is so great about this project,” Barber said. “That’s keeping work and dollars in Covington County.”

Barber said some people have already expressed an interest in the properties and applications are accepted every day. There will be mobility-impaired units in two-, three- and four-bedroom sizes and vision/hearing-impaired units in one- and two-bedrooms sizes. Barber said if a tenant needs vision/hearing-impaired accessibility, “we can supply this in other sized units upon request.”

Barber said the apartment rentals are based on income, and when applying at the Barnes Street location, one must bring a birth certificate, Social Security card and income statements for all occupants. A criminal background check and landlord references check will also be performed, Barber said.