By Mark Watson
The Jesup Housing Authority and its Board of Commissioners are committed to creating a positive living environment for residents where people can live, learn, and grow to be productive and responsible citizens.
That is the mission statement of the Jesup Housing Authority, and has been for the past 12 years. Most organizations and companies have mission statements, but unfortunately, many of them reserve the words contained in those statements for frames in the lobby or a conference room. At the JHA, those are not only words we take very seriously; they are words we live by every day.
Our emphasis on the physical condition of the 214 apartments that we maintain in our community has led to significant improvements over the last several years, including the electrical conversion and installation of central heat and air-conditioning systems that concluded during 2011. Currently, all apartments have energy-efficient heating and cooling systems that make the apartments more comfortable and more affordable for our residents, thanks to the efforts of our contracting partner, J&W Heating and Air Conditioning. We are continuing our modernization efforts through our very own talented maintenance department, saving the JHA thousands of dollars each year in costs.
We have also addressed the appearance of the landscape in our neighborhoods during the last several years to improve our image in our community and beyond. With two of our neighborhoods situated on the Golden Isles Parkway, visitors and passing tourists notice the condition of the landscaping and our grounds in general. Removing institutional fences, planting new greenery, and routine maintenance of our grounds ensures that our neighborhoods are an appealing sight to those passing through our city.
In order for an apartment to truly feel like home, residents must feel secure in their neighborhoods. The JHA Board of Commissioners established strict screening procedures for the application process to our program five years ago, and these procedures have had a tremendous impact on the security of our neighborhoods. As shown by crime data as reported by the Wayne County 911/Communications Center over the last nine years, crime has become almost nonexistent in our neighborhoods. Typically, less than 1 percent of the calls received by 911 involve activities in our neighborhoods. In addition to our partnership with the Jesup Police Department, the JHA also employs a full-time Investigator to address any concerns from residents.
In addition to security issues, our Investigator also is responsible for assisting with the screening process and ensuring that full compliance with our requirements are met by those receiving assistance from the JHA. The current waiting list for an apartment at the JHA contains 103 families. This waiting list is sorted by criteria established by the JHA Board of Commissioners that favor individuals who are retired, disabled or employed full-time.