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Housing Authority gets another federal grant

The new look at the Housing Authority's Hidden Valley residences includes durable vinyl siding with a color scheme of brown, blue and green accents to blend with seasons and add variety to homes.

Sun Advocate Reporter

The Housing Authority of Carbon County has received another big grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Authority director Linda Varner said she is ready to put it - and some local contractors - to work.

This grant of $176,799 comes only months after the authority got a $270,000 award in federal stimulus money. Results of that earlier grant are already highly visible at the authority's Hidden Valley apartment complex in east Price.

The authority invested the money in structural improvements and energy efficiency, Varner explained. Deteriorating wood siding was replaced with durable vinyl, colored to match the desert terrain. Single pane, wood-framed windows were upgraded to energy-efficient, triple-pane E Glass with vinyl frames.

Workers also installed wind breaks, new soffit and moisture wrap insulation to save energy consumption year round. Exterior lighting now operates by photocell activated Smart Lights. Varner said she expects heating and cooling expenses for apartment dwellers to go down by as much as 30 percent.

In announcing this latest round of grants, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said that the funding will also serve to stimulate the local economy and create jobs. Varner agreed, saying that the Hidden Valley project provided jobs for ten contract workers.

The specific investments for the new funding won't be decided until the authority board meets on July 14, Varner said. However, all the money will go for long-term capital improvements as intended, she added.

The authority provides reduced-rent housing for low-income, elderly or disabled citizens of Carbon County. In addition, it operates a separate program to subsidize partially rents paid to qualifying private landlords.

Utah housing authorities received $3.2 million overall, their share of the $2.3 billion awarded nationally.

Secretary Donovan used the occasion to promote the Obama Administration's proposal to use future federal grants as leverage to attract more private investment in public housing. This initiative, Preservation, Enhancement and Transforming Rental Assistance (PETRA), is part of the administration's 2011 budget proposal.

Donovan's remarks noted that low-income housing needs in years to come represent some $20 billion to $30 billion, as yet unfunded. The administration wants to encourage more private ownership to fill that gap.

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