Plans to demolish Kingsport public housing units move forward following funding setback

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Plans are moving forward to demolish more than 100 public housing units, despite a setback in the project late last year.

There were about 100 tenants at Lee Apartment in Kingsport. The Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority previously told us the goal was to have all of them moved out by the end of December, but a setback in funding delayed plans a bit. Now, KHRA is working with the last ten families to help them find a new home before demolition starts.

Monday morning, Greg Thompson said goodbye to his current home. His Lee Apartment unit now sits empty, as KHRA officials move forward with plans to demolish the existing 128 units there and build new ones in their place.

“We have about 70 families that have either already moved out or are in the process of moving as we speak,” said KHRA Deputy Director, Maria Catron. “We have about 10 families, approximately, that we’re still working with to identify the best possible choice for them moving forward.”

It comes after KHRA got the final approval they needed from HUD – to tear down and rebuild the apartments – at the end of August, anticipating funding for housing vouchers in September.

“We experienced that setback because the funding for the approved vouchers didn’t come in until the first of December,” Catron said.

It is something that proved to be a bump in the road for Thompson.

“I found a place in Blountville and I couldn’t get it in time because they didn’t have the vouchers in time,” Thompson said.

Still, he’s looking forward to a new home and a fresh start at his new apartment, while housing officials work with the final tenants, promising that demolition won’t start until they’ve all moved out.

Housing officials are hopeful to have all tenants transitioned out of the complex by the end of this month.

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