The Matthew Henson HOPE VI Redevelopment is located on 26 acres in Phoenix’s Central City South Neighborhood. The City of Phoenix received a $35 Million HUD HOPE VI grant in 2001 to rebuild the severely distressed housing project originally constructed in the early 1940s. 356 of the 372 previous units were demolished and the remaining 16 units were rehabilitated to preserve the area’s historic nature and are used for space to provide social services. The City has used the redevelopment as a catalyst to revitalize the 170-acre Central City South Neighborhood and allocated additional funds to extend the revitalization process into the surrounding communities, including to the Symphony HOPE VI also developed by McCormack Baron Salazar.
Henson Village is comprised of the Matthew Henson Apartments, Senior Living at Matthew Henson, the Vernell Coleman Youth Center, and the Community Training & Education Center. The new community is a mixed-income community with housing available to families of various incomes (public housing, tax credit and market-rate). Various green building features have been integrated throughout the community providing environmental, economic, and social benefits.
Matthew Henson Apartments has 420 apartment homes in one- to four-bedroom garden apartments and townhouses. Amenities in the new community include tot lots on each block, a community garden, BBQ and picnic areas, basketball courts and parks, a Management Building with resident clubhouse and pool, and shared community spaces.
Senior Living at Matthew Henson consists of 129 active adult mixed-income rental units and a community resource center. The 3-story senior building, with one and two bedroom units, includes a secured outdoor sitting area with pool, meeting rooms, lounges, kitchen, library with computers, and exercise space.
The Community Resource Building, approximately 8,200 square feet, serves the residents of Matthew Henson and the surrounding neighborhood. The City of Phoenix offers job training, computer training, health screenings, social events, and adult seminars in the building.
The Vernell Coleman Youth Center is named after Vernell Coleman, a former Matthew Henson resident and community activist, who organized a rent strike to protest poor living conditions at the property in the 1970s. The center, located in the heart of Henson Village next to Matthew Henson Park, is operated by the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. Youth can enjoy a variety of activities at the Center, including a full-sized basketball court, ping pong and pool tables, organized games, fully-equipped playground, shaded Ramada, and a computer lab.