The Recovery Act funding provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund Program is effectively doubling the Department’s annual support of local housing authorities to improve their public housing stock. Nearly $3 billion in stimulus funds are now available to make improvements to public housing units nationwide. South Carolina’s share amounts to $35.9 million. Director of Public Housing for HUD in South Carolina Larry Knighner says the funds are sorely needed to make improvements to the public housing in the state. There are 42 housing authorities located in South Carolina.
According to Knightner, 60 percent of the funds must be spent in the first two years of the program, the remaining 40 percent must be spent in the third and final year of the program. Knightner says improvements to housing units will be made with the main theme being energy efficiency.”There will be cabinet replacements where needed. There will be energy efficient water heaters that will be replaced in units, along with toilet and shower head replacements that are energy efficient. Also to be done is the re-roofing of buildings and the installation of energy efficient stoves and appliances.”
Knightner says security lighting will be added in many of the public housing areas throughout the state. Securities cameras will also be added in selected housing complexes.
Knightner says input from residents is an important part of the HUD Capital Fund Program. “One of the requirements of the Capital Fund Program and the recovery money is that housing authorities will consult with their residents to talk about the amount of money that is received, the uses of the money that can be administered, and many of the housing authorities met with their residents and actually received comments back from them.”
Knightner says the funds will not only mean that public housing in South Carolina will receive much needed upgrades, but the overall infusion of the funds in the overall state economy cannot be overlooked.