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Feds award grants for public housing improvements

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 19 2014 11:35:00 AM CDT
HUD

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development

Cities and counties throughout the 69 News viewing area are sharing in more than $1.8 billion in grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for public housing improvements.

Locally, public housing authorities in Allentown, Reading and Bethlehem are each receiving just under $2 million. Easton is getting $660,000. Across the river in Warren County, New Jersey, Phillispburg is receiving just under $1 million.

County-run housing authorities throughout the area were also each granted hundreds of thousands of dollars for improvements.

HUD says the latest grants re provided through its Capital Fund Program, which provides annual funding to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. These housing authorities use the funding to do large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems, according to HUD.

“This funding is critically important in helping Pennsylvania’s public housing authorities provide the best housing possible for their residents,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator of HUD’s Mid-Atlantic region. “While it does not sufficiently address the backlog of capital needs, significant efforts are underway to generate additional funding in private investment for much-needed improvements.”

According to a news release from HUD, for more than 75 years the federal government has been working and investing billions of dollars in developing and maintaining public and multifamily housing – including providing critical support through the Capital Fund grants announced Wednesday.

Still, the nation continues to lose approximately 10,000 public housing units each year, primarily due to disrepair, according to HUD. In 2011, HUD released Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, a study that estimated the capital needs in the public housing stock in the U.S. The study found the nation’s 1.1 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs. Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are extensive improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency, according to HUD.