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Housing Authority receives federal grant

The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority received an unexpected bonus when it found out this week that it would get more than it asked for from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund.

Suffolk received nearly $1.1 million, around $400,000 more than it expected, according to SRHA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Tracey Snipes.

“It was extremely exciting, because we were expecting $600,000, maybe $700,000 with a bit of a boost,” Snipes said. “When I heard it was over a million, that was fantastic.”

More than $43 million will go to 26 municipalities across Virginia, including Suffolk, according to a news release.

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner praised the announcement, saying in a statement that “all Virginians deserve access to safe and affordable housing.”

HUD’s Capital Fund provides federal money to public housing agencies across Virginia for the development, financing and modernization of public housing developments.

Snipes said SRHA has not heard when it will receive the grant money, but typically, it takes about two weeks for it to appear in the Line of Credit Control System, or eLOCCS System, which is HUD’s primary grant distribution system and how SRHA will receive the money.  It will have three years to use it, Snipes said.

“It’s not for the day-to-day, but for the large projects,” Snipes said.

Once SRHA receives the money, it will then have to put its projects out for bid.

Those projects include work at Chorey Park Apartments, Hoffler Apartments and Colander Bishop Meadows. SRHA received a little more than $1 million in 2018 to do work at those three sites.

If the work ends up costing less than the grant amount, SRHA will be able to apply that money to other projects it has in its five-year plan, Snipes said.

None of the federal money announced this week will be applied to the work SRHA is looking to do at Parker Riddick Village and Cypress Manor Apartments, Snipes said.

SRHA has applied with the Virginia Housing Development Authority for a 9-percent tax credit for the demolition of Parker Riddick, which has undergone a name change to Whitemarsh Pointe.

It also has an application for a 4-percent tax credit toward the rehabilitation work to be done at Cypress Manor, which is now called Eagle Landing.

The work to be done at both Parker Riddick and Cypress Manor will also be contingent on whether it receives approval of its Section 18 application from HUD, which will allow for the demolition and renovation of those public housing units, Snipes said.

If approval is received, 93 families will need to find affordable housing, Snipes said, and it will need to get approval from HUD for them to receive tenant protection vouchers.

SRHA is looking for more landlords to enter the Section 8 housing program. It will be holding a Landlord Recruitment Fair at the SRHA office from 10 a.m. to noon April 27. There are 323 landlords currently, Snipes said.