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Local housing commissions to see share of $30M in federal funding

August 15, 2013
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $30 million for capital improvements to housing commissions throughout the country, including eight local commissions.

Mike Wadaga, executive director of the Baraga Housing Commission, said there is no specific designated use for the commission's $40,078 grant.

"We are just going to put it into operations," he said.

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Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $30 million to local housing commissions for capital improvements. The Houghton Housing Commission will be getting $73,360, and some of that will be used for upgrades at the agency’s Waterworks individual housing complex.

Wadaga said the building does need roof shingles, however.

The paperwork for the HUD money needs to be to the agency by Sept, 9, Wadaga said, but there is a step which needs to be taken before that.

"We still have to bring it to the board," he said.

The HUD grants don't require a local match, Wadaga said, and the individual commissions don't apply for the money. The HUD officials make a determination on how much each commission will get based on number of units, unit size and building age it oversees.

"We do have an obligation of two years (to decide how to use it), and it all has to be spent in three years," he said.

Sherry Hughes, executive director of both the Laurium and Houghton housing commissions, said there is no specific designated use for the $21,971 for the Laurium location.

"We're just going to set that aside," she said.

The Laurium facility does need a new air handling system, Hughes said.

The Houghton Housing Commission's Heritage Manor recently re-opened after being remodeled as a result of a fire on Aug. 18, 2012, so Hughes said the $73,360 in HUD money won't be needed there. However, the commission also owns 15 individual houses at its Waterworks location near the BHK Child Development Board offices, and another 15 individual houses scattered throughout the city. all of which need work.

"They have original flooring from 1982," she said. "The bathrooms are all original."

Specifically what work will be done will have to be determined after HUD approves the plan, Hughes said, but she's fairly certain work can get started before winter.

"I think we can," she said.

Gail Perala, executive director of the Calumet Housing Commission, said there are several uses planned for the $86,038 they are expecting to receive from HUD. Already budgeted for are a truck, two furnaces, changing the commission's large building from gas to electric, and tuck pointing the large building's external brick work.

"I'm going to have to adjust the budget a little (to accommodate the HUD money)," she said.

Vanessa Houle, executive director of the L'Anse Housing Commission, said some of the $28,033 that agency will get from HUD will go to installing ceiling fans with lights for 39 bedrooms.

"I am going to put a portion of it into operations," she said of the rest of the money.

Also receiving funding from the HUD capital Fund are: $92,718 for the Hancock Housing Commission; $63,325 for the Lake Linden Housing Commission; and 447,075 for the Ontonagon Housing Commission.



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