Last updated: August 20. 2013 11:48PM - 2465 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

Pictured is one of Mount Airy's public-housing neighborhoods, which have 300 units in all.
Pictured is one of Mount Airy's public-housing neighborhoods, which have 300 units in all.
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Public housing units in Mount Airy will be renovated with the help of $424,482 awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Mount Airy is among communities around the nation tapped for grant funds totaling $48.6 million, which are targeted for large-scale improvements.

“It is capital fund money,” Kay Morgan, director of the Mount Airy housing authority, said in reference to the grants awarded nationwide to local authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize units in their communities. “We get capital funds each year,” Morgan said.

Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are extensive improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.

“It’s going for renovations,” Morgan said of how the money will be used in Mount Airy.

She added that the most-recent allocation of $424,482 is slated for further work the local authority has undertaken in Marshall Park in the Hadley Street area.

“So we are continuing the renovations we have started,” Morgan said. “We are remodeling eight more units, and we’re going to re-roof some units.”

Those eight units presently are unoccupied, awaiting the renovations.

The housing authority official said those who live in the various complexes it operates around town have input in the annual capital funds-allocation process. “The residents meet every year to help decide where we spend the money,” Morgan said.

“It won’t go very far,” she said of the $424,482 granted to the local housing authority.

Marshall Park is one of six public-housing neighborhoods in Mount Airy. Units first opened there in 1974.

In all, the city has 300 housing units, made up of clusters of apartments ranging from studio-size to five-bedroom units with two bathrooms.

They presently are home to 292 families, representing 646 individuals, Morgan added Tuesday.

“Housing authorities in North Carolina count on this funding to maintain and improve their public housing for many families, especially the most vulnerable – our seniors,” Ed Jennings Jr., HUD Southeast regional administrator, said in a statement.

Jennings added that the grants are part of a process to maintain a quality housing infrastructure so it will be around for the next generation.

Mount Airy’s housing authority is one of about 100 across the state which were tapped for funding.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.

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