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August 10, 2013

Housing authority to get HUD improvement funds

NEW CASTLE —

Lawrence County will receive a $928,245 improvement grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan awarded a total of $117,380,587 to public housing authorities statewide to make major large-scale improvements to their public housing units.
 These grants are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which awards funding annually to all public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities.
 The authorities use the funding for improvements including new roofs or energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.
Gene DiGennaro, executive director of the Lawrence County Housing Authority, said the money is the authority’s annual capital funding, which has decreased in recent years.
The funds will be used to replace the roofs of the units at  Neshannock Village and Grant Street projects, replace the front and rear doors on apartments at Lincoln Terrace and Neshannock Village and replace a boiler at McGrath Manor.
“We have money left from a couple of other projects to have enough  to do what we need to do,” DiGennaro said, adding, “The roofs are in dire need of repair.”  
Capital Fund grants are awarded each year to the nation’s 3,100 public housing agencies through a formula that considers number, type and age of units in a community. Eligible uses include development, financing and modernization of the public housing units and management improvements at the public housing authority.
Over the past 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.   
Still, the nation continues to lose about 10,000 public housing units annually, primarily due to disrepair.
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 United States. The study found the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs.

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