When it comes to stimulus funding, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is ... true.
A few weeks ago, Cheryl Johns got word that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was allocating $893,000 for capital projects this year to the Altoona Housing Authority, where she's executive director.
That was about $200,000 more than she expected, an increase that was part of the economic stimulus package.
This week, HUD announced its full slate of stimulus funding for capital projects, and it turns out that all $893,000 is stimulus money - meaning Johns will get her regular 2009 allocation later this year in addition to the stimulus.
"It's extra," Johns said. "It definitely came as as complete shock."
There had been a miscommunication by HUD that the department later clarified, she said.
It's also "a good thing," she said of the additional capital funding.
The stimulus will more than double HUD's capital funding this year to housing authorities nationwide, according to a department news release.
HUD made the allocations through the same formula it uses for its regular annual allocations for capital projects, spokesman Brian Sullivan said.
Altoona probably will use the money to replace boilers and furnaces at the downtown towers and Fairview Hills public housing pro-jects. The systems at the 30-plus-year-old towers are original, and the ones at Fairview are about 19 years old, Johns said.
If not for the stimulus, it would be another three or four years before the work would be done, she said.
The authority probably will use its regular capital allocation for trash compactors in each tower.
Good things also are coming to county housing au-thorities in the area - a total of $2.2 million for Blair, Bedford, Centre, Clearfield and Huntingdon.
Huntingdon will get $694,000, which it will use to replace windows at the 100-unit Chestnut Terrace development in Mount Union.
"We've wanted to do it for a number of years," Executive Director Dawn Sunderland said.
The authority's regular capital funding this year will go for underground utility line replacement at one senior development and new refrigerators in each of the authority's 314 public housing units, she said.
Blair will get $166,000 from the stimulus, which it will put toward the $400,000 cost of converting a pair of accessible apartments at Cold Springs Development near Tyrone from two-bedroom to three- and four-bedrooms, Executive Director Richard Furmanchik said.
The stimulus allocation will enable the authority do both apartments this year instead of one this year and one next, he said.
Bedford will get $41,000, which it will use to replace the roofing on the 25-year-old Devon Homes in Hyndman, which has four buildings with 13 units, Executive Director Bob Harbaugh said.
Centre will get $47,000 for its only public housing project: 20-unit Beaver Farm Apartments in Bellefonte.
Like Johns, Director Randy Holderman thought at first that was his whole allocation for this year - just swelled a little by stimulus.
When he learned it was all stimulus, and that he'll also get his regular allocation, he said he'll have to check his five-year plan to figure out what to do with it.
"We can put it to use, no doubt," he said.
Clearfield will get $366,000. An official at the authority didn't respond to messages left by the Mirror.