Hundreds on the waiting list for new JCHA Dunbar Apartments


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- A $14 million government-subsidized housing development in Johnson City is almost complete and ready for tenants to move in.

After more than four years of planning and preparation, the Dunbar Apartments, located at the intersection of Robinson Drive and John Exum, will soon be ready for tenants to move in by Jan. 1, 2020.

The complex provides energy efficiency, spacious pods and an on site daycare. All of this will be affordable to tenants, thanks to a new program. The Johnson City Housing Authority (JCHA) is converting public housing over to HUD’s “Project-Based Rental Assistance Program”.

This is a project that Johnson City leaders announced in February 2016, to replace the former Dunbar Community red stone buildings, similiar to what is shown in the video.

“Designed from the ground up to be extremely energy efficient. They have 15 seer, HVAC systems that are from carriers or high-end premium quality provider in the HVAC business,” JCHA executive director, Richard McClain said. “They have R-19 in the walls throughout and between the units. They are doubled-up R-19 between units.”

“We’ve had over 280 people waiting for the 80 units here. So, we’ve got a lot of interest in these units,” McClain said.

The spacious units have 1, 2 or 3 bedroom options.

McClain said, “Extreme amounts of insulation throughout the units. It’s way more than you would normally find in an apartment complex like this,” McClain continued. “They should be extremely quiet inside, because of all that insulation we have between the floors and between the units, with the R-19 on each side of the wall. There’s at least four units of drywall between each unit. We have a gypcrete flooring, which is a 3-quarter inch type flooring on the second floor. There is a sound proofing mat underneath that. The noise from above you should really be zero because of that special flooring and sound-proofing we’ve put in.”

McClain is proud of how energy efficient the buildings are. These units are all going to be Energy Star Certified and Enterprise Green Certified.

McClain said this two-year project is available to tenants with low income.

“These have HUD rental assistance on it, through the project HUD rental assistance project. Tenants will pay only 30 percent of their adjusted income on this,” McClain said. “In these units, the housing authority will be managing these units, and we’ll be paying the water sewer, all in garbage collection costs for the tenants. All they’ll be responsible to do is to pay the electricity on the unit’s part, as far as utilities.”

The money for the $14 million project was raised by the state, so the complex is not a burden on taxpayers.

“We used tax credit through the state, applied for tax credit, win those, and then a bank purchased those from us. They get to write that on their taxes over ten years.”

Another perk is a school readiness “headstart” program will also be on the property.

“We’re providing a Head Start for the children that live here in the area, not only in this development,” McClain said. “We’re moving that over here to this new center and we’re expanding it to two classrooms from one classroom.”

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