The Warwick Housing Authority along with 24 other Rhode Island public housing authorities will share in $12 million in federal grants under the Public Housing Capital Fund program U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced last week.
But while that is a lot of money, it’s not as much as authorities have received in the past.
“It’s not a good year for funding,” says Michael Lyclund, executive director of the Warwick Housing Authority.
He said capital program funding that is used for building maintenance projects is down from previous years. Warwick is slated to get $499,155, or about $100,000 less than customary.
But it’s the hit in operating funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that has Lyclund worried.
The authority won’t be getting $1.6 million in operating funds this year, he said.
“We’ve been told to live off reserves,” Lyclund said. He said the authority has about $5 million in reserves for a “rainy day fund.”
“I hope it doesn’t rain hard,” he added.
Lyclund said neither the Warwick authority nor Rhode Island is being singled out for the cuts. “This is nationwide until HUD gets the funds again,” he said.
The Warwick authority operates 517 units of elderly and family housing in five complexes and 36 scattered family sites.
In a release, Reed said the capital fund program would help improve and develop affordable rental housing throughout the state.
“These are tough times, and this is a much needed investment in improving affordable housing in communities throughout Rhode Island. These federal funds could help put Rhode Island contractors, plumbers and electricians to work making needed repairs that will upgrade neighborhoods across the state,” Reed said in a statement.
Lyclund said the money would be used “to do the normal things we do year to year such as painting, roof repairs, floors and building upgrades.” He said the money could be spent over four years, thereby enabling the authority to spread out the work.
The top grant under the program – $3.4 million – went to the Providence authority followed by Woonsocket at $1.9 million and Newport at $1.6 million.