JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Johnson City Housing Authority (JCHA) hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday, celebrating the finalization of apartment complexes on East Watauga Avenue.
The JCHA showed off one of the units in the newest of two buildings with eight units in each. All of the units are two and one-bedroom apartments.
Thursday’s ribbon cutting couldn’t come fast enough for some. The first building was finished in 2022 and has had tenants for almost a year. JCHA CEO and Executive Director Sam Edwards said the agency has 1,200 applicants on its full waiting list.
“We already have a pretty significant waiting list for the units that we’re in today,” said Edwards. “The need is just astronomical, and we’re doing everything that we can to provide more affordable housing.”
Edwards added that the units include energy-saving appliances and are handicap accessible. He said they designed the units to target specific needs like youths aging out of foster care and veterans with single-bedroom apartments.
“[JCHA] is really a creative and effective housing authority, and we’ve been pleased to help their work along,” said Ralph Perrey, the executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).
THDA awarded the JCHA a grant of half a million dollars for the second phase of the project.
“So Johnson City has really been forward-looking, thinking about, ‘What do we need? What kinds of units will better meet the needs of the people we serve?'” said Perrey.
June Gaskins has been living in her apartment since September 2022. She was in assisted living after she moved to Johnson City from Georgia.
“So once I became available for this type of program, I mean from day one, everybody’s been so kind from the [JCHA] main office,” said Gaskins.
She has been enjoying her two-bedroom unit while moving around in her wheelchair.
“I’m in a handicap unit,” said Gaskins. “It’s set up for a handicapped person, designed for a handicapped person I would say. I haven’t had any falls, that’s one good thing.”
Edwards said tenants will move into the new building within the next month. Anyone who would like to apply for section-eight housing, should go to the JCHA main office on Pardee Street for information or find an application on the agency’s website.