The Housing Authority of the City of Camden pursued a dual strategy in the late 1990s. The Authority pursued HOPE VI demolition and redevelopment grants and simultaneously used money earmarked for modernization to upgrade existing projects.
As bad as conditions were at Roosevelt, things were worse elsewhere. As there was no guarantee that a Hope VI grant would be issued for Roosevelt Manor, significant funds were poured into the site to upgrade the development. New pitched roofs and facades were put on, individual boiler rooms were erected for each building, and many kitchens and baths were rebuilt.
Unfortunately all the money spent on the site did not help. Not all the work done was of good quality, and at the time the behavior of many of the residents of Roosevelt and the surrounding areas caused the project to be as unlivable as it ever was for those trying to work and live in peace.
After HUD stepped in things began to change. Under the direction of Dr. Maria Marquez, the authority’s Executive Director, an unheard of third HOPE VI grant was won by the Housing Authority for Roosevelt Manor in 2004, with the intent of demolishing and rebuilding the 50 year-old development.
Roosevelt residents were relocated elsewhere in the city in 2005 and 2006. By the fall 2006 Roosevelt Manor had been vacated and was ready for demolition. Demolition should have proceeded immediately, but had been delayed, apparently through no fault of the Housing Authority. Unfortunately, during this period, which began around September of 2006, the property was vandalized and drug activity did not cease, and neighboring Branch Village became what one resident described in early 2007 as “pure hell”.
Roosevelt Manor finally was demolished in the spring of 2007. With HopeVI funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Roosevelt Manor was rebuilt.