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Affordable housing project in West El Paso to be considered following public meeting with residents near the area

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The board of the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HOME) decided in a public meeting Tuesday, July 9, that it would consider approving the construction of 104 units of affordable housing in the Mesa Hills Drive area.

Before the decision was made, HOME officials listened to the community and answered questions from the public regarding the project.

Many neighbors in the area voiced their discontent by claiming the project could potentially bring traffic and crime, and decrease their property values.

During the meeting, an engineer for HOME said the project would bring a traffic equivalent of 40 cars per hour during peak hours. It was also stated by the engineer that Sunland Park Drive and Mesa Hills Drive were already bad intersections.

Those in the meeting did not respond well to this, with one woman saying, "When you say to me that it's already a bad intersection in Sunland and Mesa Hills Drive, you’re basically saying, "It's okay. It's already bad. We're going to make it worse."

Gerald Cichon, CEO of HOME, told ABC-7 that the problems other cities have seen with affordable housing are something that has not happened in El Paso due to the business model used here.

"I’m comfortable building in this community, in that particular community that they're concerned about, because I know that people that are going to live there are going to be great members of this society,” said Cichon.

With the board deciding to further consider approving the project, Cichon said he believes they can still finish the project in the original date they had in mind.

“We can't move forward without certain approvals. And so it has negatively impacted us moving forward. But we believe that there is still time for us to move forward and do the construction and finalize it, and finish it on time,” said Cichon.

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Tony Gutierrez


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