SRHA plans upgrades
Published 11:05 pm Friday, February 13, 2015
With a federal grant, the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority plans to upgrade electrical systems at its oldest communities and the elevators at Chorey Park.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $30.4 million to public housing authorities in Virginia under its Capital Fund program, designed to fund improvements to public housing.
Suffolk’s authority, which was awarded $620,000, gets money via the program every year, Executive Director Clarissa McAdoo said.
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“There’s no set amount,” she said. “They look at the demographics of the housing authority — we will have different numbers of units.”
“Back in the day,” McAdoo said, the grant program was competitive: Authorities vied against each other to receive money. “Then, back in the late ‘90s, this grant became formula-based,” she added
McAdoo says that’s a good thing. “We shouldn’t have to compete to maintain our public housing stock. I think that finally got through to HUD,” she said.
Authorities are given 18 months to “obligate” the funding and three years to spend it, McAdoo said, adding that this allows for better planning to spend the money more wisely.
On West Constance Road, Chorey Park has the same elevators it was built with in 1989, McAdoo said. They have been maintained through the years, but “it may be time to do the major upgrades.”
“Since I’ve been here, for 19 years, we’ve done two upgrades to those elevators,” she said. “We are just at a point where we need to do another.”
The electrical upgrades will be done at Cypress Manor and Parker Riddick on Stacey Drive, developed between 1976 and 1981. Demolitions may occur at the apartment complexes at some point, McAdoo said, after the authority received a $250,000 grant in 2012 to plan for revitalizing them and the surrounding area.
But meanwhile, she said, “We have to make our residents safe.”
When they meet later this month, authority commissioners will consider applying to HUD for a Capital Fund Safety and Security Program grant, which is competitive.
The authority won one in 2013, using the $250,000 to install security cameras in and around various communities, and security doors at Hoffler Apartments.
“We are still trying to analyze the best use for this coming grant,” McAdoo said.
These grants help stretch out the authority’s capital fund, according to McAdoo. “Doors, windows, those kind of things that are normally capital improvements, can also become safety and security capital projects as well,” she said.