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Housing Authority Reassures Tenants

The head of the Darien Housing Authority says it is committed to providing housing for residents of Allen O’Neill Drive. Jennifer Schwartz said that despite what residents may have heard , this will be DHA policy after construction of a new housing development on the property. Schwartz met with the Board of Selectmen Monday to discuss tax abatements for the Allen O'Neill project that would help keep rents affordable for tenants.

"We made a commitment to them, which started four years ago with a letter that we sent to our residents right after we got zoning approval, saying that we remain committed to housing them," Schwartz said. The letter, dated Dec. 18, 2006, said all residents whose income is equal to or less than 80 percent of the median for the area will receive new, appropriately sized units in the new development.

Schwartz said that after current tenants move into the new development, they will continue to pay rents similar to the amount they pay now. Rents will be adjusted for existing tenants as their household incomes increase. "There will be a graduated increase in rent for existing residents to get up to par with what they should be paying and what the new residents will be paying," Schwartz said.

Under Schwartz’ proposal, all property taxes for the project would be abated during construction and for the first five years thereafter. This would help keep rents affordable for existing tenants as they transition to the new developments. "This really impacts the lowest income residents," Schwartz said. "It helps them make the transition."

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