Affordable housing remains an urgent priority in New Rochelle and throughout Westchester, but the approach to providing affordable housing has changed dramatically in recent years. When the Hartley Houses apartments at Horton and Brook Streets were constructed decades ago, they reflected the prevailing wisdom of the time: high rise buildings sent in empty plazas. Since then, this model has proven to be a failure, often associated with high crime rates and other forms of anti-social behavior (Hartley Houses alone account for 45% of all drug arrests in the city.) The New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, which owns and operates Hartley Houses, has unveiled plans for a dramatic change in the complex. Four of the existing high-rise buildings are to be demolished and replaced with a mix of owner and renter occupied townhouse-style homes (the fifth high-rise may be retained for senior housing.) At the same time, streets which had been eliminated to create a super-block will be reintroduced. Finally, the reconstituted neighborhood will attract a resident population with a greater diversity of work and income status. The Housing Authority plans to undertake this effort in phases in order to accommodate the housing needs of current Hartley residents. The $35 million price tag will be paid through a combination of federal and state tax credits, federal loans, tax exempt bonds, and private financing.
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