HUD-funded projects proposed

List includes family shelter, sidewalks, youth program

The city’s Department of Planning and Community Development has proposed a slate of Community Develop­ment Block Grant projects that includes several for which funding is available because of last year’s transfer to the general fund of two perennial CDBG programs — one that paid for the bicycle police and one that paid for a code officer.

The city began paying for both of those programs out of the general fund because the bike police and the code officer were frequently needed in areas other than low- to moderate-income neighborhoods — the only places where their work was eligible for CDBG reimbursement.

Because last year’s initial slate of CDBG projects allocated $210,000 for the bike police and $66,000 for the code officer, this year’s slate had an extra $276,000 available.

Accordingly, the proposed new list has a different look than ones approved in recent years:

Allocations for projects that might not have been on the list without the transfer of the bike police and the code officer program include:

– $150,000 for fencing, parking, sidewalks and equipment to create a new playground on donated land at 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue.

– $135,000 for Family Services Inc. to acquire a building at 2300 North Branch Ave. to be turned into a family shelter.

– $50,500 for the Altoona Housing Authority to replace front and rear storm doors, along with brick molding at Pleasant Village.

– $100,500 for the Altoona Housing Authority to replace sidewalks and exterior stairways at Fairview Hills development.

– $28,000 for UPMC’s Housing and Rental Assistance Program, which helps people with mental illness.

– $25,000 for the Center for Independent Living of South Central Pennsylvania to help with design and construction of home accessibility ramps.

– $25,000 for an after-school program for kids ages 5 to 12 at the Nehemiah Project’s Wright Place for Kids.

– $878 for creation of “Little Free Library” sites at the Altoona Housing Authority’s Pleasant Village and Fairview Hills.

Allocations for projects that have been funded in recent years:

– $452,500 for the city’s single-family homeowner rehabilitation loan program.

– $262,000 for the city’s blighted property demolition program.

– $200,000 for the city’s paving program, executed in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods only.

– $8,200 for a youth empowerment program at Zion Missionary Baptist Church that seeks to help with communication, computer work, job searches, addiction recovery, suicide prevention, mental health first aid, bullying problems, relationship problems and health care issues.

– $359,000 for management, monitoring, coordination, oversight and evaluation of CDBG programs, general city planning and fair housing activities.

The proposed CDBG allocations total $1.79 million.

The city is expecting it will get a 5 percent increase of CDBG entitlement money from the Department of Housing and Urban Develop­ment for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, said CDBG Manager Mary Johnson.

The money available for projects includes income from loan programs, Johnson said at a meeting this week to announce the proposed projects.

HUD requires that 70 percent of CDBG funding goes for projects to benefit low-to-moderate-income individuals; no more than 30 percent goes for remediation of slum and blight; no more than 15 percent goes for public service projects and no more than 20 percent goes for administration, Johnson said.

The Department of Plan­ning and Community Develop­ment is also proposing a slate of projects to be funded by HUD’s $306,000 HOME allocation for the coming fiscal year.

It calls for allotting $177,000 to Improved Dwellings for Altoona to replace the roof and repave the parking lot at IDA Tower, $99,000 for the city’s rental unit rehabilitation program, which requires a 50-50 match from landlords, who must rent to income-eligible tenants for a certain period; and $30,000 for administration.

HUD requires that at least 15 percent of HOME funding goes to the city’s Community Housing Development Organ­ization (IDA) and that no more than 10 percent goes for administration.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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