Cash-strapped Housing Authority spending $20K to rebrand

The Bridgeport Housing Authority and its public housing tenants have a lot of needs and not enough money to pay for them all.

At the board’s meeting Tuesday night, for example, one resident complained about black mold in one of her closets. She was told it’s a ventilation problem related to poor roofing, but that there is just not enough money to make the necessary fixes.

“If it’s really, really, really bad you need to put in a request for emergency relocation,” said departing Acting Housing Authority Director Jimmy Miller.

So the fact that the Authority is sinking $20,000 into the creation of a new logo (Park City Communities), a new website and other rebranding efforts might raise a few eyebrows.

Couldn’t those resources be better spent on other needs?

Miller in an interview said most of the money will be spent on a more interactive website with online applications, online bill pay, online complaint forms, etc.

“That’s not a toy,” Miller said.

And, he said, a successful rebranding will help the Authority in the future as it seeks money from banks, investors and other sources.

“That’s not a toy, either,” Miller said. “People hear ‘Bridgeport Housing Authority’ and all they do is conjure negative connotations.”

Looks like Miller’s using the New Haven Housing Authority, which loaned him to Bridgeport last summer, for inspiration. That agency is called Elm City Communities. Miller’s a deputy executive director there.

Brian Lockhart