This month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued more than $1.8 billion in federal funds to 3,100 housing authorities across the country in an effort to modernize the nation’s public housing supply.
Kentucky received $31,793,131 with $8,304,784 going to the Louisville Metro Housing Authority (LMHA), by far the largest allotment in the state. Across the river, New Albany and Jeffersonville have been awarded $1,494,277 and $486,293 respectively of Indiana’s total $22,515,723.
A 2011 study commissioned by HUD, “Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program“, showed that the nation’s 1.1 million public housing units are in need of $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs.
Funds come from HUD’s Capital Fund Program. “Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are extensive improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable,” a HUD press release stated, “such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.”
The Courier-Journal‘s Sheldon Shafer reported that most of the money would be spent on upgrades at Dosker Manor ($389,000), Parkway Place ($1.4 million), Avenue Plaza ($150,000), Beecher Terrace ($1.2 million), and Lourdes Hall ($160,000), with another $600,000 reserved for “unspecified contingencies.”
“Most of the money will go for routine maintenance,” LMHA Executive Director Tim Barry told Shafer. “Nothing real sexy, but we have things that have to be done.”
That leaves another $4.4 million remaining. Shafer reported that additional funds would “go for vendor contracts to do various work, to purchase new appliances for housing units, and for environmental assessments.”
Among the repairs listed, some $250,000 is set aside for repaving parking lots at Avenue Plaza and Lourdes Hall. Avenue Plaza, a slender, 18-story slab tower built in 1974 at 400 South 8th Street, takes up an entire block, most of which is covered by its surface level parking lot. In 2015, part of LMHA’s $7.8 million allotment from HUD went to repave the parking lot at Dosker Manor.[Top image showing Beecher Terrace in the foreground looking toward Downtown courtesy Google.]