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County urged to create more affordable housing

HOLLIDAYSBURG — As rental rates increase and homes are sold, Jim Hudack of the Blair County Department of Social Services said it’s time to look at creating affordable housing for residents.

At Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Hudack requested an Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program Disbursement of up to $150,000 to establish a sustainable housing program to be administered through the social services office. It would provide up to $50,000 funding for each of three projects.

It’s challenging to find affordable housing in the county, Hudack told commissioners.

During his presentation, Hudack said the plan is to create housing for low- to moderate-income households. In this area, that is a household with an income of $40,850 or less.

To create new housing options, organizers would look at existing infrastructure as well as transportation and other amenities that would make the location convenient, he said.

Affordable housing “is a problem in general in this county,” Commissioner Bruce Erb said.

The topic will be brought up during the commissioners business meeting Thursday, Hudack said.

Also on the table at Thursday’s meeting will be upgrades to the county’s voter registration system.

Sarah Seymour, director of elections, is seeking approval of a Notice of Intent to request Election Security Grant funds. The county aims to apply for $9,718 to be used for expenditures related to the 2022 election and implementation of SUREVote, she said.

Transitioning to the voter registration system SUREVote “will require the upgrade of our computer system and also purchasing of handheld scanners and printers,” Seymour said.

In other funding requests, Trina Illig, CDBG program administrator for the Blair County Planning Commission, said changing the roof plans on the Fort Roberdeau pavilion renovation project will increase costs by $656. Swapping out the shingles for 26 gauge metal roofing panels will take the project from $40,732 to $41,388, she said. The change order is from John Claar Excavating Inc., and commissioners appeared to agree the change was a good idea.

“I’m glad you’re doing that. Metal roofing is such a better choice right now,” Commissioner Amy Webster said.

Also at Fort Roberdeau, director Glen Nelson said plans are underway for a Stay & Play Summer Promotion. The commercials will include live promotional mentions and directory listings and will be paid for by advertising funds in the Fort’s budget. A campaign promoting the Fort’s Star Spangled Event will be paid for by the Fort Roberdeau Association, Nelson said.

Mirror Staff Writer Cati Keith can be reached at 814-946-7535.

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