Two grants totalling $562,328 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have been awarded to the Shelbyville Housing Authority to be used to build apartments for the elderly.
SHA executive director Herschel Thrasher stated Thursday that the money is to be used to construct the six elderly-only apartments at the corner of South Jefferson and Dunnaway streets, next to the East Side apartment complex.
Thrasher explained that the funding for the project is comprised of money from the Capital Fund Program and the Replacement Housing Factor Funds, which will be integrated with funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).
Last October, some $289,000 of leftover NSP money that was to be used to tear down blighted structures around Shelbyville was turned over to the Housing Authority by the city. The NSP was developed due to the large number of foreclosed and abandoned properties resulting from the economic downturn.
According to Thrasher, the bidding process has already been completed with H.P. Construction Management of Woodbury being awarded the project for a bid of $700,000. Landscaping and construction will begin later this summer, he said.
The Housing Authority plans on having the six units ready to rent in early 2012, Thrasher said, as long as winter weather permits completion of construction. SHA will announce when the application process will begin for these six elderly-only units, he said.
The city had been planning on using the NSP funding to tear down buildings that were in a very deteriorated condition by buying the property from the owners with the grant money, but actually finding the owners had become a problem.
Planning and codes director Ed Dodson stated last year that the city was only able to perform a closing contract on a single blighted structure that had originally been identified by the city as qualifying for the grant.
"It looked like for a while that we weren't going to get to use a lot of the grant money," Dodson said at the time, which came to a total of $326,023.
Shelbyville ended up paying only $36,921 to buy and demolish the home in question, but that left the $289,000 from the grant that was eventually turned over to the Housing Authority.
The federal funding SHA received this year is part of $54,859,325 awarded last week to public housing authorities in Tennessee. The funding would allow housing agencies "to make major large-scale improvements to their public housing units," according to a press release from HUD.
Last year, SHA was awarded $649,508 by HUD that went toward painting, patching, roofing work, blinds and storm doors, and in 2009, a total of $829,593 was received that was used for improvements to South Maple Apartments.
The annual funding from HUD's Capital Fund Program is used to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. It can be used to make large-scale improvements such as new roofs and to make energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.
According to HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr., housing authorities need nearly $26 billion for the nation's 1.2 million public housing units "to keep these homes safe and decent for families," but budget realities have forced HUD to find other ways to "confront the decline of our public housing stock."
Earlier this month, HUD released a capital needs study that addressed the need for large-scale repairs to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.
"While this funding will certainly help housing authorities address long-standing capital improvements, it only scratches the surface in addressing the deep backlog we're seeing across the country," Jennings said.
The Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program updated a 1998 analysis that included costs to address overdue repairs, improvements for disabled residents, lead abatement, and water and energy conservation to make the units more cost effective.