HUD money coming to housing authorities

Maple Terrace, in the Tylerdale section of Washington, will undergo renovations this summer. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday its annual grants of taxpayer dollars to housing agencies nationwide, including stewards of public housing in Washington and Greene Counties.

The $1,024,810 going to the Washington County Housing Authority will be used for construction-related projects in Washington, East Bethlehem Township, Charleroi and Donora, said Stan Shook, comptroller.

At Maple Terrace, Washington, roofs, spouts, trim, windows and siding will be replaced to make the apartments more energy efficient. There are 35 units at Maple Terrace.

Roofs, gutters, spouts and trim will be replaced at Frederick Terrace, Fredericktown.

There are 58 units at Frederick Terrace.

At some of the 18 townhouses known as the Donora “scattered sites,” floor slabs, walks, steps and stoops will be repaired or replaced.

At the 75-unit Nathan Goff Apartments, Charleroi, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit on roof that recirculates air into common areas will have a mechanical equipment upgrade.

The annual grants are awarded based on number of housing units and funds available. The agencies submit to HUD lists of their needs as part of their five-year plans.

“We do whichever ones are the most urgent,” Shook said.

Shook projected that 13.5 percent of the grant, well below the 20 percent limit, will be used for everyday operations of the Washington County Housing Authority.

“Because of a shortfall in funds, we are being very inadequately funded,” Shook said. “We’d like to use it all for brick and mortar, but the funds are needed to help support public housing operations” which he described as “pretty much like your own budget – wages, benefits, utility bills and contractor costs.”

The grant money will probably not be officially awarded untilJuly, and the bidding process for the contracts can take a few months.

“The work will be bid this year and begin as soon as possible, weather permitting,” Shook said.

The annual grants are awarded based on number of housing units and funds available. The agencies submit to HUD lists of their needs as part of their five-year plans.

“We do whichever ones are the most urgent,” Shook said.

The Housing Authority of Greene County will receive $349,413, which it plans to use to upgrade Woodside Manor, a 50-unit apartment building for the elderly and disabled in Carmichaels, said Lois Mocniak, authority executive director.

The authority plans to use this allocation as well as the allocation for next year for the project, which will involve giving the 30-year-old building “a little bit of a facelift,” she said.

Mocniak said she expects next year’s allocation to be about the same amount as this year’s, which will give the authority about $700,000 to remodel the common areas, including the lobby, community room and restrooms, and complete some upgrades on the hallways and apartments.

The authority plans to bid the project this year and hopes the work will begin in about a year, Mocniak said. The housing authority has five housing developments and 284 apartments. It also administers a small Section 8 Housing program with 30 vouchers.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

Bob Niedbala is a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter. He has worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.


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