Athens Housing Authority Advance Meeting

The Athens Housing Authority obtains about $2 million, annually, in capital funds to be used for renovations and projects to improve the housing units within the Athens-Clark County community.  This stimulus money is received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Athens Housing Authority works in conjunction with the local, state and federal governments as an independent agency to provide affordable and convenient housing for those in need, serving the Athens-Clarke County area.

The Athens Housing Authority is conveniently located in their upgraded facility at 300 S. Rocksprings Street.  On Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at 4:30 the AHA will hold a board meeting at this location to discuss the best use of the stimulus money. Some of these topics are to include budgetary issues, changes and upgrades to some of their neighborhoods and other topics of interest to the Athens community.

According to their Web site, http://www.athenshousing.org, the Athens Housing Authority is one of the largest providers of affordable rental housing in the Athens-Clarke Country area.  In total, the Athens Housing Authority manages and administers 1,255 dwelling units for approximately 3,300 residents, including many families. The AHA operates from a property-based management standpoint, meaning the 12 neighborhoods they run and maintain are segmented into five groups as a means to better serve their residents.

According to a news release, the housing authority will receive $2 million in economic stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

From the news release issued by the Athens Housing Authority: “We must obligate the funds to construction projects that can be started within a short time of receiving the money,” Athens Housing Authority Rick Parker said.  According to the release, some of the ARRA funds will be implemented for renovation projects to update the interiors of approximately 75 housing units, replace the elevator system at Denney Tower, replace roofs and windows at 75 units, and also to replace plumbing fixtures in about 250 housing units.

These projects are necessary to the improvement of the housing facilities and will in turn create a more livable and convenient environment for the residents.  “We already had several projects planned for the next two to three years and the ARRA funds will allow us to begin the work earlier than we had anticipated,” Parker stated.

Property manager as well as marketing and communications director, Marilyn Appleby, explained that the Athens Housing Authority is required to follow federal regulations with regard to the way they spend the AHA spends their money. The Athens Housing Authority receives a portion of their budget from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Appleby said that 50 percent of AHA money comes from the federal government and 50 percent comes from the rent that the residents pay.  Appleby explained, the federal government money is delegated as federated money and is held accountable to the government.  Non-federated money is money the AHA acquires through various sources and can be used somewhat more flexibly.

In addition, the Housing Authority is allowed to issue housing revenue bonds to build subsidized housing, and the AHA receives the interest accrued on the bonds.  This interest collected from the bonds is considered to be non-federated money and as a result, the Athens Housing Authority can implement the use of that money a little more freely to benefit the residents and the community.  This meeting will discuss the disbursement of the ARRA stimulus money, and interest accrued money in the most beneficial way for the residents and the surrounding community.

Another matter of importance to be discussed is the senior citizen hi-rise, Denney Tower.  Districted to property management group five, Denney Tower is located in the middle of downtown Athens at Dougherty and Pulaski streets. Denney provides housing for the elderly, ages 62 years and older. At the meeting, there is to be discussion with regard to the 25 units at Denney Tower and the need for a two-year renewal in order for Denney to maintain its designation as an elderly-only facility.  If this renewal is not approved, options may have to be considered to extend the age limitations for the residents.

The advantage to the age-specific segmentation is that Denney will be able to continually serve people of similar age at one location.  Congress addressed this national problem about five years ago when they passed a regulation for specified housing units to be regulated by the age-elderly only.

Plan to attend the board meeting held at 4:30 on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the Athens Housing Authority building on Rocksprings Street.

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