my information

--- Issued February 26, 2009

With President Barack Obama’s stimulus package being approved by Congress on January 21, the Erie Housing Authority has already learned it will receive at least $4.6 million dollars to put residents of Erie County to work to help Authority residences become more “green.”

(Read the Erie Times-News version of this story by clicking HERE.)

“I’m amazed at how fast the administration is able to move on this,” said John E. Horan, executive director of the Erie Housing Authority.

Obama promised that the $787 billion economic stimulus package will create or save 3.5 million jobs in the next two years, and for the Erie Housing Authority, as many as 80 people could be put to work as early as August.

Horan said that on Tuesday he received an email from the Pittsburgh office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development informing him that the Erie Housing Authority was in line to receive approximately $4.6 million under the stimulus plan.

The funding will be used toward replacing energy-wasting furnaces with energy-efficient furnaces in more than 1,000 apartments; replacing the antiquated electrical distribution system at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments; and replacing 200 apartment entry doors and leaky door-seals at the Authority’s Eastbrook and Agnes Priscaro developments.

On Monday, the Board of the Authority tentatively selected an architect and engineer to design and prepare bid documents for this work,” Horan said. “We will advertise for construction bids in May, and we expect to award contracts in July. Work will start in August.” He estimates that private contractors will utilize as many as 80 workers on this project, with a pay rate of $15 to $25 per hour, plus benefits. Many of these workers in the construction trades would otherwise be laid off due to the lack of work in the private sector.

Horan said he hopes this is just the beginning of the Authority’s efforts to do our part to stimulate economic activity in Erie with renovations to our housing stock. “We have a five year plan that calls for over $15 million in physical improvement to our 2,158 houses and apartments. Because of the additional stimulus funds, we will be able to move other improvements into 2009, that would not have been able to be scheduled until 2010 and beyond,” said Horan.

He said he expects the recession and the economy to push the need for public housing much higher if people continue to lose full-time employment. Currently, the Authority provides housing assistance to nearly 3,000 low and moderate income families, including elderly and persons with disabilities.

For more information, call John Horan at 452-2425.