Region 8 Housing Authority Wants New Image

If you think you know what public housing is like, you may need to think again. The Region 8 Housing Authority is on a mission to improve its image with a strategy that includes business and community partnerships.

Dianne Reese believes in helping the people in her community who can't help themselves.

"We can do a lot for the elderly because a lot of times they can't get around. They can't take their garbage out."

Reese has lived in public housing for four years. She's seen improvements like central air and heat and other changes by the Housing Authority for the better, like demolishing some old buildings.

"It looks better and I think it has cut down on a whole lot of the drug trafficking and everything. It's really nice."

The Region 8 Housing Authority wants to make communities like W.M. Ladnier Homes places where opportunity lives. A partnership with the Workforce Investment Program gives residents access to mobile computer labs where people can learn job skills.

"So many people have the perception that when you live in public housing that you're living in a worse place that you would get under normal circumstances. I'm telling you that we have quality sites, quality homes," Jessie Billups of the Regional Housing Authority said.

Dianne Reese knows the people who live here depend on her to be their voice. She was just elected to a second term as president of the resident council. Making her way through the neighborhood streets, she wished more people could see W.M. Ladnier through her eyes.

"Where you live, try to make it your home," said Reese. "Make it look good... I just don't like that word "projects." This is our home. This is all we've got."