Housing Authority awaits decision on HUD applications

The Housing Authority of Clayton County recently applied to serve as a local administrator of two rehabilitation programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Currently, the Housing Authority is waiting to hear from the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, regarding whether the authority was chosen as a local administrator for HUD's Emergency Assistance Grants Program, of the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program, according to Chris Wood, spokesman for the Housing Authority of Clayton County.

Lance Crawford, director of Clayton County Housing and Community Development, confirmed that the Board of Commissioners should advise the Housing Authority July, whether or not it is eligible to receive funding for both programs.

Crawford added that Housing and Community Development has already received both program applications, from the Housing Authority.

"The Authority has a strong record as a previous administrator of federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME program dollars, which are appropriated annually HUD," said Wood, "for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners to allocate to sub-recipients that consist of local governments, agencies, authorities and organizations, to in turn administer to county residents in need."

Wood said that the Clayton County government estimates to receive approximately $1.8 million for the Community Development Block Grant for fiscal year 2011. The county is expected to receive $810,000 for the HOME program, he said.

The Housing Authority has applied for two $500,000 grants, for the programs, he said.

"Hopefully, the Board of Commissioners will view our applications favorably, so we'll be able to assist even more Clayton County families," said Linda Valentine, executive director for the Housing Authority of Clayton County.

Valentine said the Emergency Assistance Grants Program of the Community Development Block Grant will assist Clayton County homeowners who live in single-family residences, in need of emergency home rehabilitation, such as gas leaks, electrical sparking, sewerage issues and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) problems.

Homeowners will be prioritized based on the severity of their needs, and special consideration will be given to homeowners who are seniors, disabled or handicapped.

Homeowners who have a total household income of less than 50 percent of Clayton County's area median income are eligible to qualify, said Valentine.

For example, she said, a single person with a household income of $25,150 or less, or a family of four with an income of $35,900 or less would be eligible to qualify.

The HOME Program funds will be used as deferred payment loans for homeowners who need to retrofit their homes to assist the needs of elderly or disabled family members, added Wood. The Housing Authority will give special consideration to veterans, he continued.

Valentine said for eligibility, the Housing Authority requires homeowners' household incomes to not exceed 80 percent of the county's area median income.

For example, for a single person, the household income cannot exceed $40,250, and a household income of a family of four cannot go over $57,450, she said.

"Without HOME Program dollars, many of our elderly or disabled citizens will not be able to retrofit their homes with necessary adaptations such as the ones we can provide them," said Valentine.

Valentine said that a project, such as replacing a bath tub with a shower, provides an individual with a wheelchair with more accessibility. Other projects include, installation of handicapped ramps and hand rails, as well as, enlarging doorways, she said.

"We would like the opportunity...to once again help Clayton County families with needed rehabilitation to their homes," said the executive director.