MERIDEN — The Meriden Housing Authority was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant to make improvements at Community Towers.
The grant is part of $36.4 million given to the state public housing authorities from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make needed capital improvements to their properties. This funding is part of $2.7 billion awarded annually.
The funds will address “capital improvements that are listed in our annual plan but are generally large items like elevator replacement, heating and cooling upgrades, security upgrades and large common area and parking lot repairs,” said Meriden Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Cappelletti.
Community Towers is a 50-year-old housing project for the elderly and disabled. The 220-unit high-rise will receive the city’s full share of grant funding because it is the only public housing remaining in the MHA portfolio after the Mills Memorial Apartments were demolished two years ago.
Past HUD grants have funded a recent window replacement, a co-generation heating and cooling system, and upgrades to the Community Room, said David Sunshine, director of resident services for the MHA.
The co-generation heating and cooling system has saved on energy costs and helped make Meriden an energy leader among housing authorities statewide, Sunshine said.
Other energy-saving measures and technologies have been implemented by the MHA or its development arm, Maynard Road Corp., at the Yale Acres housing development off Broad Street and at 24 Colony St., a mixed-use apartment building downtown.
“It makes its own energy,” Sunshine said about the co-generation project. “It’s cheaper for us to provide energy. That’s what housing aurhorities are being asked to do. Housing authorities are looking to us for what to do.”
HUD uses the Rental Assistance Demonstration or RAD to complement the Capital Fund Program. RAD is a longterm solution to preserve and enhance the country’s affordable housng stock, that includes leveraging public and private funding to make needed improvements.
After RAD’s authorization from Congress in 2011, HUD reports significant additional capital for distressed public housing. As a result, 130,000 public housing units have converted to Section 8 financing, with no additional costs to taxpayers, acccording to HUD.
“This funding will assist Connecticut public housing agencies as they work to provide the best housing possible for their residents,” HUD New England Regional Administrator David Tile said in a statement.