Housing Authorities Move Quickly to Put Recovery Act Funds to Work

Washington, D.C. – March 23, 2010 -- Public housing authorities (PHAs) have obligated virtually 100% of the $3 billion they received in Recovery Act formula funds, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Out of the nation’s 3,100 PHAs, only 21 were unable to meet the deadline, returning $3 million to HUD; all CLPHA members obligated their funds.

 These Recovery Act funds will:

  • Generate thousands of jobs
  • Bring thousands of uninhabitable units back on line
  • Make substantial capital improvements to the $145 billion asset that is public housing
  • Improve energy efficiency, resulting in tax dollar savings

Communities will also see increased economic activity, since every dollar in PHA spending generates an additional $2.17 in local spending.  

Housing authorities faced significant obstacles in meeting the goal. The usual two-year timeline for obligation was cut to one year, and they were handling these additional capital funds along with annual capital fund appropriations.

“Public housing was included in the Recovery Act because the industry was able to clearly demonstrate the scope of critical, unfunded capital projects,” said Sunia Zaterman, CLPHA Executive Director. “Housing authorities have shown we can put significant resources to work in communities quickly, and effectively.”

“We said we could do it, and we did.”

She said that HUD headquarters and field staff worked with PHAs to move the process forward, including sharing information that helped the industry stay on track.

CLPHA also worked closely with HUD to remove early obstacles to spending the money. One example was helping clarify the initially vague requirements of the ‘Buy American’ provision.

PHAs are also well on their way to meeting the next deadlines for obligating the $1 billion in capital fund competitive grants awarded beginning in September 2009. (Examples of how that money will be spent are here.)

Sample Recovery Act Formula Fund Projects:

The Boston Housing Authority received $33.3 million and anticipates creating close to 700 jobs over the next few years.  Among the work it will undertake:

  • Building 100 new affordable rental units
  • Upgrading and modernize over 600 bathrooms and/or ventilation
  • Replacing outdated underground fuel with modern spill-proof, environmentally compliant tanks

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles received $25 million; its projects include:

  • Installing sprinklers, irrigation systems and gas lines to conserve water and energy
  • Restoring fire and/or water damaged units
  • Removing and replacing hazardous asbestos flooring

The Tacoma Housing Authority will use its $4 million for:

  • New roofs, windows, siding and floor covers
  • Energy efficient lighting packages
  • Landscaping and other improvements


Full list of Recovery Act formula grants



More information: Pat Lewis, Communications Director, 202.638.1300