Competitive Grants Spur Innovation


  • Akron will use one grant to substantially rehabilitate 105 units and common area at a property built in 1970 that suffers from original design defects. The work will bring the units into full compliance with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) and will provide additional space for supportive services. Another grant will be used to complete a mixed-finance development that will include 48 new units of low and very low income housing.
  • Baltimore plans to renovate and make energy efficient 240 scattered sites that are currently dilapidated and unoccupied, along with 30 conventional public housing units.  In addition to providing badly needed housing, the renovations will help reinvigorate distressed neighborhoods where they are located. Renovated units will be more energy efficient, with updated lighting and plumbing.
  • Boston is taking a 10,000 square foot community and office center and upgrading it to a full service center for frail elderly and people over 55 with disabilities. The center will be operated by Upham’s Corner Health Center’s Elder Service Plan-PACE. Services will include medical and supportive care, adult day health programs and other programs designed to help elders age in place.  Another grant will be used to start what will eventually be complete redevelopment of an 845-unit site that is the most physically distressed in the authority’s portfolio. The first phase will provide two new 6-story midrise buildings, eight family townhomes and a new community center. The redevelopment will also create walk-able streets and provide access to safe, reliable public transportation at the site.
  • Bridgeport is targeting several projects with its Recovery Act grants. They plan to make P.T. Barnum, a 38-building development, safer and sustainable. Changes will include adopting an experimental stair design that has been shown to reduce crime and add life to building materials. They will also be able to finish work on a 240 unit development for elderly and persons with disabilities, and greatly enhance safety and accessibility at another elderly development. 

  • In Cambridge, the authority is using one of its grants for a major energy upgrade of a 39-year-old building that houses elderly and disabled residents.  They estimate a 39% reduction in source energy consumption and at least 26% reduction in water use. In other neighborhoods, they will be able to begin work on replacing one building and completely renovating another. All these projects are part of the authority’s Preservation Program, an ambitious campaign to modernize or redevelop its entire state and federal public housing portfolio over the next ten years.
  • Camden is building a mixed income development that will provide 68 family units in nineteen two-story buildings.  Residents will also have access to a new community center being built in the neighborhood, where the authority will hold workshops and educate residents on energy conservation. The authority is also significantly expanding community and supportive office space at its John F. Kennedy Tower, providing room for social and outreach workers, exam rooms, and additional education courses.
  • In Charlotte, the housing authority is completely renovating individual units and common areas in an 11-story high rise that is home to seniors and persons with disabilities. When finished, it will provide 125 efficiency and 36 one-bedroom apartments.  They are pursuing LEED silver certification, with changes that will provide an almost 37% reduction in energy and water consumption. The plan also includes significant non-energy related renovations to community space in order to provide a wide range of services on-site. It will include medical offices, supportive services, and a library.
  • The Chicago Housing Authority will be able to build a new mixed-income, mixed-finance development on what is now a vacant site. The new housing will include 32 public housing units, 31 affordable units, and 21 market rate units; it is part of a larger public-private development effort to revitalize the Ogden North neighborhood.  Funds will also be used to finish the transformation of the 18-acre Cabrini-Green development. The first two phases produced 391 units, including 107 public housing units. The final phase will provide 112 new rental units that include 39 replacement units for Cabrini residents and 53 affordable units.
  • Denver is starting work on the first phase of a 17.5 acre mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented community intended to serve as a national model. The community will include 100 public housing units, and is designed to deliver exceptional environmental efficiency and energy performance. In addition, the authority will work to enhance residents’ health by providing better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and by constructing bike and pedestrian-friendly routes.   Additional grants are being used to renovate a 192-unit building and improve pedestrian access to a future light rail station from an adjacent senior community center.
  • In the District of Columbia, one grant is being used for new construction to turn a former public housing site into a green, transit-oriented, mixed use, mixed finance development. It will include a solar power array, vegetative green roof, bio-retention facilities and Energy Star appliances. The completed development will include 110 public housing units, 69 affordable units, and 85 market-rate home ownership units. Other funds are being used for the total rehabilitation of 26 scattered site units, taking them from energy-wasting properties in various states of disrepair to models of resource and cost efficiency.
  • El Paso is using its award to finance its Paisano Green Project, redeveloping what was once a 46 unit community into one that provides 64 units and is energy efficient and sustainable. Originally built in 1952, the 4.2 acre parcel has been vacant for 10 years. The development will include a range of green improvements, such as ensuring connections between neighborhoods and green space, improved surface water management techniques, and the use of renewable energy resources.
  • Jersey City is undertaking a range of projects that will improve its portfolio. The largest grant received was to immediately demolish three obsolete high rises, making room for building 124 new units; the project has been significantly delayed because of years of underfunding. The authority is also creating a special crew of skilled trades people that will focus on expediting the turnover of vacant units. A number of senior apartments will sport fresh paint for the next three years, and their community centers will be upgraded.
  • In King County, 56 units at 17 properties will be upgraded to include accessible entry routes and bathroom fixtures, grab bars, roll-in shower stalls and other changes. Some of the units will include additional features for sight or hearing impaired residents, including alarm systems. Four other properties will be outfitted with energy efficient windows and lighting, new exterior insulation and other features, including new ventilators to improve indoor air quality. Funding will also allow for completion of the final phase at Greenbridge, including 20 more units, completing a portion of the site-wide trail system and finishing sidewalks on another public road.
  • The City of Los Angeles authority will be able to expand its very successful water conservation campaign that in its first phase saved 48 million gallons of water. The campaign includes resident education, new lease rules, water audits, and water-saving devices. They will also be retrofitting units to be more energy efficient, and introducing a new ‘walkable neighborhoods’ initiative.
  • Miami Dade is building a 354-unit mixed-income development, including 177 public housing units, 107 lower and moderate income units, and 70 market rate units. The building design will be complementary in scale and architecture to the community, not only blending in but catalyzing further revitalization. This will be the county’s first multifamily rental development that employs guidelines from Enterprise Green communities and LEED for Neighborhood Development.
  • Milwaukee is making accessibility modifications at its Lapham Park high-rise. This senior building is home to the nationally recognized Lapham Park Venture, which provides comprehensive and coordinated services that allow seniors to age in place. The grant will be used to make modifications in 119 of its 200 units; the authority plans to submit a low-income housing tax credit application to modify the remaining units.  In addition to accessibility, the funds will provide for central air conditioning, new elevators, new windows, and a new covered residential entry.  
  • Minneapolis is building a state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot senior center that will serve not only its 400 elderly residents, but other low-income seniors in the community. The center will house a health clinic and adult daycare program, as well as provide space for various social service providers, social activities, and recreational opportunities. Near the center, the authority is going to build a 48 unit green senior housing development; they are going to partner with Hennepin County to target frail, elderly residents with memory loss issues – the first of its kind in the state.
  • The New Bedford Housing Authority will use its grants to reduce energy costs and provide more handicap access. The authority is planning to build two miniature cogeneration plants that will provide energy to the developments,  the YMCA, and the Boys & Girls Club. The authority is also retrofitting 20 units to be handicap accessible, and preserving 122-state funded units.
  • New Haven plans to complete the third phase of a mixed-income development, adding 33 units and 20 homeownership parcels on what is now vacant land. The first two phases created 160 units of mixed-income and rental housing, a community center and new public streets. Another grant will be used for a mixed-income development in partnership with the city of New Haven to create a more vibrant community. It is designed to be more socially and economically diverse than the development it will replace and is geared toward families and seniors.
  • Newark is using Recovery Act funds to jumpstart development of a new green, compact, and sustainable mixed-income community that is a five minute walk from a central transit station.  Using the design principles of the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria Checklist, they will demolish three dilapidated high-rises containing 502 units and replace them with 400 new mixed-income rental and homeownership units. A key element of the new neighborhood will be Baxter Park, envisioned as a ‘gracious public outdoor room’ that encourages pedestrian activity and connectivity with the city.  
  • Portland has a grant for its Resource Access Center, the cornerstone of the city’s 10 year plan to end homelessness. The center will provide housing, employment, and treatment counseling; hot showers; storage; and communication services to help with job and housing searches.  It is designed to be a LEED Gold certified development, incorporating a number of cutting edge sustainability design elements.
  • The Sacramento Housing Authority plans to renovate a building that is considered a blight on the surrounding community. The 12-story mixed-used building is more than 30 years old; the authority’s offices are on the first three floors. Due to the extensive repair needs on the other floors, all the 108 units intended to house seniors and people with disabilities sit vacant. The renovation will include replacing old and deteriorating mechanical and electrical systems, installing a new roof, and rehabbing each unit with new appliances, tubs and sinks. The building will also be more secure, with new fire alarm systems and security lighting.
  • In San Antonio, Recovery Act funds will be used to make improvements in 14 communities serving the elderly and persons with disabilities. In addition to making buildings fully accessible, the improvements will create a more comfortable environment that encourages residents to socialize. The funds will also build additional space for partner agencies to provide specialized services, including nutrition and health screenings.
  • San Bernardino will make energy efficiency and green upgrades to 338 units at its Medical Center public housing site. They will be replacing inefficient lighting, windows, water heaters, refrigerators and cooling systems; they will install photovoltaic systems to produce solar energy. The authority anticipates annual savings of $176,855 as a result of the improvements

  • San Francisco’s grants will allow significant green upgrades at 638 family, senior, and disabled public housing units at four properties. The improvements include replacing windows, and expanding existing energy conservation measures, with estimated annual decreases in energy consumption ranging up to 39%. The authority is also increasing accessibility at its Rosa Parks development for units and common spaces.
  • In St. Paul, the authority will make energy improvements at four high-rises; improvements will include window, boiler and toilet replacements, lighting improvements and replacing all the refrigerators in one building. Altogether, the upgrades will impact 569 units.
  • The Seattle Housing Authority is leveraging its grant with $22 million from other sources to build 118 energy-efficient units that will complete the transformation of its 65-acre Ranier Vista development – named one of Seattle’s best places to live in 2007. All the units will meet Evergreen Development Standards. The authority is also rehabbing a 221-unit, 40-year-old concrete and brick housing that primarily serves seniors and people with disabilities. New features include triple glaze windows that provide additional sound insulation and mitigate heat from the afternoon sun, a UV protection coating applied to the roof, and replacement of the 40-year-old hot water heating system.
  • Yonkers won its grant for plans to build a deep well geo-thermal system at a senior site with 139 units. Geothermal units are at least 30% more efficient than air source heat pumps and twice as efficient as electric resistance heating. Since they have no outdoor coils or components that can be damaged, they also provide significant maintenance benefits to housing authority.

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