More than $8.6 million in state and federal grant funding is coming to Lancaster County to support renovation of affordable housing, according to a pair of announcements made this week.
The majority of the funding, nearly two thirds, will go to the Lancaster City Housing Authority. It is a key provider of affordable housing, managing more than 560 units that are home to more than 1,200 individuals. (It administers a federal Housing Choice Voucher program that supports another 1,900 people in private rental housing.)
One set of grants, provided through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s Housing Options program, will deliver $4.26 million to four projects as follows:
- Lancaster City Housing Authority: $1.14 million to renovate the HVAC system at the 169-unit Farnum Street East high-rise, replacing existing infrastructure with energy-efficient heat pumps.
- Old Market Apartments: $660,000 toward renovations of a three-story, 11-unit building at 10 W. Locust St., Ephrata.
- Three Center Square Apartments: $1.38 million to upgrade infrastructure at a 23-unit affordable complex at 2 W. High St., Maytown.
- Walnut Street Apartments: $1.08 million toward the renovation of 117 S. Walnut St., Lititz, preserving 18 affordable 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units. The site, a former shoe factory, was converted into housing in 2005.
Farnum Street East serves people who are elderly or disabled. The HVAC upgrade will “dramatically improve” their living conditions, state Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, said in a statement.
The Lancaster City Housing Authority is also replacing the HVAC at its other high-rise, the 101-unit Church Street Towers. That project has started and will continue into the winter, said Barbara Wilson, the housing authority’s executive director. The Farnum Street East project start date is yet to be determined she said. In all, the HVAC work is estimated at $5 million.
Housing Related Hazards grant
Meanwhile, the authority has received another grant, totaling just over $4.4 million, from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s “Housing-Related Hazards” program.
The HUD money will allow the authority to resolve ongoing mold issues at its two low-rise complexes, Franklin Terrace and Susquehanna Court, which have 124 units and 75 units, respectively.
The authority has been abating mold growth as best it can, Wilson said, but the infusion of funding will allow a much more aggressive and comprehensive approach. Its contractors will be able to rip out and replace affected materials and install preventive measures such as automatic fans.
“The award of these funds from HUD will provide us with the means to completely rehabilitate the bathrooms in these homes,” Wilson said.
HUD awarded its Housing-Related Hazards funding in conjunction with grants for remediating lead-based paint. In all, it distributed $158 million nationwide: 20 awards to address lead paint and 54 for other hazards, such as mold, radon and asbestos.
The Lancaster City Housing Authority was one of six housing authorities in Pennsylvania to receive grants. The other five were in Franklin, Meadville, Jefferson, Lebanon, Westmoreland County and Wilkes-Barre.