Ida Yarbrough Homes Reborn
By Darren Scott, Director of Planning and Development
Ida Yarbrough Homes was built in the early 1970’s as 129 low-rise residential apartments surrounding a series of courtyards and parking lots on a hillside overlooking North Pearl Street. For the next 40 years it would undergo several major renovations, never overcoming latent problems in its layout and construction, yet housing hundreds of families in need of decent affordable homes. Love it or hate it, residents are in agreement that it’s time to rebuild it.
There is a sense of community at the low-rise development. It is a family site with many places to play without worry of children going in the street. People know each other and have a sense of community. Over several meetings held in late 2009, residents told Authority staff and consultants what worked and what didn’t about Ida Yarbrough. While there is community, there are too many apartments and too many children with too little adult supervision. The apartments are well maintained, but they are outdated. And while there remains the need for affordable rental housing, there is a strong desire for homeownership.
From these observations, a new vision was created. The apartments will be demolished in phases and fewer new apartments constructed in their place. In total, approximately 80 rental apartments and 20 houses for sale will be built. They will be attractive, spacious and energy efficient, offering amenities often found in market rate housing. The site is designed to capitalize on the sense of community amongst its residents while providing security from those who would take advantage of it.
Residents will be provided with robust relocation assistance and encouraged to rent and purchase the new homes to the greatest extent possible when they are complete. In the interim, the Authority is developing additional apartments throughout the neighborhood on vacant lots and in abandoned buildings to replace housing that cannot be accommodated on-site. Also, residents will have the choice of using portable Section 8 vouchers to find housing in the private rental market.
Ida Yarbrough Homes will be reborn, insuring that its residents continue to have a place in Arbor Hill. For more information on redevelopment plans and the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan, please download the following files;