GALVESTON — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the Galveston Housing Authority a $1.4 million grant to help the agency maintain its existing facilities.
The award, announced Wednesday, is part of $1.8 billion given to housing authorities nationwide as part of the department’s Capital Fund Program.
On Thursday, a housing authority spokesman said the grant money could be used to repair the housing authority’s existing public housing units.
“In the private sector, a portion of profits are set aside for future capital improvements for repair and rehab,” said housing authority spokeswoman Clover Nuetzmann. “The public sector has no such luxury because the nature of our services preclude earning a profit. So HUD steps in because our mandate is to serve the economically disadvantaged and they provide funds for those things.”
Although no specific plans for the money have been made, the housing authority will use the grant funds mainly for repairs such as maintenance of plumbing and electrical systems and the replacement of doors and windows. The money could also be used for roof and parking lot repairs.
The money can only be used at existing housing authority properties, such as the Gulf Breeze and Holland House apartment buildings.
Of the cities that received more than $1 million from the agency this year, Galveston is by far the smallest. Eleven Texas cities received more than $1 million this year. The next smallest city to receive such an award was Waco, which has a population of more than 127,000.
HUD’s capital program makes the awards annually, although Nuetzmann said that the formulas used to calculate award can significantly change how much a housing authority receives from year to year. Last year, the housing authority received a little more than $438,000 from the same program.
Housing authority officials said the funds cannot be used for the construction of the city’s mixed-income housing developments.
Last month, the housing authority said that a lawsuit about the construction of mixed-income housing had interfered with its plans to secure up to $15 million in financing for the projects through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. Officials said they hoped to find another source of funding for financing.
HUD Capital Fund Program Grants to Texas Cities*
San Antonio $7,903,495
Corpus Christi $2,047,923
* grants go to that city’s housing authority