my information

--- Issued December 26, 2012

On December 25, the Erie Times News printed the following article:


Erie Housing Authority seeks $2.8M in federal capital money

By ERICA ERWIN, Erie Times-News

The Erie Housing Authority expects to receive $2.8 million from the federal government for capital projects in 2013, including $1.6 million for improvements to its apartments and houses.  Improvements include new roofing, siding and windows; electrical panel-box replacement; and remodeled bathrooms, according to an annual capital plan outlining how it plans to spend the capital grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The authority also will spend about $307,000 for the HomePlus program, which helps provide services for seniors living in Schmid Towers and Friendship Apartments, and about $197,500 to help pay for Erie police officers who are assigned to authority developments under a two-year contract with the city.

But what's most noteworthy isn't how the authority plans to spend the money, Executive Director John Horan said.  It's how much that federal funding has dwindled.

The authority received $4.6 million from HUD in 2001. In 2012, it received $2.8 million, the same amount it is asking for now. That's a 40 percent decrease.

The capital funding is "what we depend on to keep our 1,851 federally assisted housing units up to par," Horan said. "It sounds like a lot of money, and it is a lot of money. But when you spread it over 1,800 units, it goes in a hurry."

"There's a lot of special things we're able to do with that money," Horan said, referring to the support programs. "But every year gets tighter and tighter and that makes it more difficult."

Still, the authority remains committed to improving its residences, Horan said. In light of the dwindling federal dollars, it makes sense to choose improvements that have long life spans, he said.

Many of the capital projects planned for 2013 are long-term, environmentally friendly projects that will help reduce the authority's utility costs, Horan said.

That includes the replacement of electrical panel boxes and breakers for 50 units at the authority's Bird Drive development, at Bird Drive and Pearl Street, at a cost of $20,000; replacement of air conditioners/heaters at Ostrow Apartments, 4220 Davison Ave., at a cost of $75,000; and window replacement at Eastbrook, East 19th Street and Whitley Avenue, at a cost of $44,850.

"We haven't frittered (the federal capital) money away," Horan said. "We've spent it on things that have a payback for us in terms of reduced operational cost. ... We're doing stuff that's going to be around for another 15 years."

ERICA ERWIN can be reached at 870-1846 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at