Federal grant to repair county public housing

The Lycoming County Housing Authority has received a $657,283 federal grant to be used for improvements to public housing units.

The 2013 grant allocation represents an increase of $194,000 from the previous year.

“It’s a very welcome chunk of money,” said Lycoming County Housing Authority Executive Director MeriLyn Severson.

The annual allocations from HUD’s Capital Fund Program provide public housing authorities dollars for building, repairing, and renovating housing in their communities.

Funding can be used for large-scale improvements, such as new roofs or to make energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.

Overall, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a total of $117.3 million for public housing in the state.

Severson said the Housing Authority annually submits a physical needs assessment to help determine how much money it will receive for a given year.

Grants ultimately are awarded each year to the nation’s about 3,100 public housing agencies through a formula that considers number, type and age of units in a community.

“This funding is critical for housing authorities to maintain and improve public housing conditions for their residents,” said U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “However, with a significant repair backlog, I am encouraged by new, innovative long-term solutions HUD is exploring that can be combined with this funding to not only protect and preserve this housing for the next generation, but to also build the quality infrastructure necessary for families to thrive.”

Funding allocations for other area housing agencies are:

Tioga County Housing Authority, $509,882.

Clinton County Housing Authority, $552,682.

Northumberland County Housing Authority, $251,870.

Bradford County Housing Authority, $390,069.