First Look at Providence Pointe, formerly Taft Homes

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:32 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Built in 1952, initially for Korean War veterans, Taft Homes are soon to be a thing of the past.

It’s now Providence Pointe, and we have a first look inside.

25News caught up with a few of the residents as they were just getting settled in. Two of the residents grew up in public housing at Taft Homes.

“We made a conscious effort to give them a modern design; something durable but something modern. They’ll have the hardwood floors. They’ll have the energy efficient appliances. They’ll have the dishwasher, they’ll have the microwave, the garbage disposal,” explained Armeca Crawford, Peoria Housing Authority’s CEO.

“It feels powerful. I feel like I have control over my life now,” says Erica Jones, one of the newer residents.

As the bricks fall on the original Taft Homes, these new doors at Providence Pointe are opening up to new energy.

There are two-to-five-bedroom units, and rent is 30% of a person’s income, based on family size. Eventually, this space will offer 142 new units.

“A lot of residents are getting up and we’re finding new jobs. They’re going to school now. Coming from where we were at first to coming to where we are now, we’re going to feel better about ourselves. We’re going to want to do more for ourselves, feel freer. We don’t have to hurry up and come home because you feel like you have a leak or if the sink exploded,” laughs Jones.

Jimmey Garry grew up in the Taft Homes and says it was his neighbors who helped raised him.

Now, as PHA’s asset manager, he wants to make sure the kids know they will have the same feeling. “My part is to look out for the kids, be a big brother and make sure they get the things they need to make life a lot easier,” said Garry.

Jones says she is planning on spending “time with the children and let them know we are in a new place. We have a new frame of mind. We’re going to learn new words. All that old stuff that we did before, just to make it through or the kids playing in dirt with nothing to do - we’re going to change that slowly but surely.”

“The City of Peoria and the housing authority cares for its residents. We care for the people,” said Rachel Pollard, PHA’s senior operations director.

Over the next couple of weeks, the last remaining residents at the original Taft Homes will be moving out.

By the end of the year, the Taft homes will be reduced to rubble.