$1.14M Federal Grant Received by Housing Authority

$1.14M Federal Grant Received by Housing Authority

The Bristol Virginia Housing Authority is set to benefit from a portion of a substantial $4.8 million federal public housing grant. The funds will be shared among eight agencies within the Southwest Virginia region, aimed at improving and modernizing their public housing services.

Out of the total grant, the Bristol agency was awarded $1.14 million, which will be directed toward its capital fund. This fund is part of a larger $54 million pool of statewide grants that were recently announced by U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Lisa Porter, the Executive Director of the agency, expressed excitement about the grant. She explained that the capital fund is intended for the modernization of public housing apartments. “We have a physical needs assessment. We’ll use it to identify where we need to channel this money,” said Porter.

In another development, the Bristol Virginia Housing Authority has been classified as a Moving to Work (MTW) agency under a demonstration program run by the federal Housing and Urban Development Department. The MTW program empowers housing authorities to design and experiment with innovative strategies aimed at efficient federal fund usage, assisting residents in finding employment and becoming self-sufficient, and expanding housing choices for low-income families.

As Porter elaborated, the MTW classification offers increased financial flexibility, enabling the agency to channel some of the grants toward development and public housing replacement. “Our next project is going to focus on the vacant lots at Mary Street and Moore Street that we own. We’re planning to submit a tax credit application and seek funding for 39 townhomes.”

The Bristol Virginia Housing Authority anticipates hearing back on the tax credit request later in the spring. If approved, ground-breaking on the new project could commence within the next year or two.

The agency also has plans to redevelop Jones Manor and Stant Hall. Porter revealed that the current housing units at these locations are predominantly studio apartments, which are increasingly hard to rent out. “Our plan is to convert all those zero-bedroom units into one-bedroom apartments,” she explained.

According to the grant stipulations, capital grants can be utilized for various improvements, including addressing maintenance needs, reducing vacancies, relocating residents, and supporting programs geared towards economic self-sufficiency, resident security, safety, and homeownership activities. Other utility management, energy-saving measures, and general improvements also fall within the scope of the grant usage.

In addition to Bristol, several other local housing authorities also received portions of the grant, including the Marion Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($783,482), the Wytheville Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($729,287), the Norton Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($672,297), the Wise County Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($598,157), the Scott County Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($285,899), the Lee County Redevelopment & Housing Authority ($186,660), and the Abingdon Redevelopment and Housing Authority ($92,323).

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