Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Pine Hollow Village to undergo $250K makeover
Most upgrade work will begin next year
By MICHAEL ROKNICK
Herald Business Editor
SHARON – The Mercer County Housing Authority has received nearly $250,000 in federal grants to give its Pine Hollow Village a makeover.
MCHA Executive Director Holly Nogay said the complex, which houses families, was built in the 1970s. While small improvements have been made over the years, this is the first large-scale project.
Although it offers affordable housing and gets funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pine Hollow Village doesn’t fall under the federal designation of being public housing, Nogay said.
The federal grant will allow for much-needed work for the 38-apartment complex, she said. "There hasn’t been much work done here in years,’’ Nogay she said. "It’s overdue."
Most of the upgrade work will begin next year.
"But in a way we already started,’’ Nogay said.
A new wall with a flower garden, which was added to Pine Hollow this year, is one of those projects.
Upgrades slated for the property include adding security systems such as cameras and outdoor lighting.
"Residents said they didn’t feel secure because of a lack of lights,’’ Nogay said.
Another feature to be installed includes fencing around the complex along with better doors "The new screens are going to be much more secure,’’ she said.
Small overhangs also will be placed over the front porches.
"Were putting those in because it will allow people to have cover from rain and snow,’’ Nogay said.
Adding new security systems has become a top priority for the local non-profit organization. A Dec. 25, 2018, fire damaged portions of the Authority’s George J. Vermeire Manor public housing apartments in Sharon. Nobody was injured in the blaze.
In all, more than 70 residents had to flee the apartment complex along Columbia Street. The majority were able to return in the weeks following the blaze.
Months later, a couple dozen of its residents were still housed at the Quality Inn on South Hermitage Road in Hermitage, a bill cover! ed by the Authority’s insurer. The majority of the fire costs will be covered by insurance, Nogay said. A complete accounting of those bills was not immediately available.
All of the residents now are either back at Vermeire or have been placed in new housing.
There were lessons learned, Nogay said.
"You have to be prepared for a fire,’’ she said. "You have to keep the people safe.’’
Nogay also indicated the pace of the restoration work by contractors was far too slow. There are still two apartments at Vermeire Manor that await final repairs. "You have to hire somebody that has the same passion in getting people back to their apartments as quickly as possible,’’ she said.
A newly constructed stone wall with a flower garden sits next to Pine Hollow Village in Sharon. The Mercer County Housing Authority, which operates the apartment complex, got nearly $250,000 in grants to improve the property.
MICHAEL ROKNICK | Herald
Nannette Livadas, Executive Director of the Mercer County Housing Authority is resigning from her position. She is proud of her combined 12+ years of service preserving, enhancing and expanding the opportunities for affordable housing in Mercer County. She will miss her dedicated and competent staff and Board; and the over 1300 families that call MCHA their home. She has taken a position with the Howard County Housing Commission and relocating to be closer to family.
Sold! Mercer County Housing Authority has renovated and sold its 5th blighted home. This home, located in Sharon’s West Hill neighborhood, was sold to the Penwell family. This family recently lost their Ohio home in a fire.
The Housing Authority is extremely excited to have found a very deserving family eager to move into a great new home in Pennsylvania. The home received many updates including a new furnace, kitchen, front porch, siding and insulation.
Mercer County Housing Authority will continue to address blight while creating homeowners because the Authority recognizes that, in addition to the financial benefits of homeownership, owning a home has social, health and educational benefits for children and adults. The National Association of Realtors reports that children do better on standardized tests, have less stress and tend to create long-lasting relationships when living in a stable home. This sense of stability contributes to positive mental health and happiness; and both children and adults have improved physical health as well. Adults who own a home feel responsible for their neighborhood, volunteer more hours, tend to vote more frequently and give more to charities.
Mercer County Housing Authority would like to thank:
Mercer County Commissioners who supported the award of Act 137 and PHARE funding.
Senator Michelle Brooks who supported the Neighborhood Assistance Program.
First National Bank for financial support.
The Department of Community and Economic Development.
Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency.
Finally, thanks to Mercer County Housing Authority staff who used their own, donated funds to purchase beds and bedding for the children.
Mercer County Housing Authority submitted an application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to participate in the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). MCHA’s Board of Directors authorized the submission on September 13, 2013. On December 23, 2013, MCHA received notice that it was awarded a “portfolio application” to convert 642 units of public housing to the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program.
The RAD program was authorized by Congress in 2012 and is expected to generate private equity to assist Public Housing Authorities nation-wide address a backlog of capital needs. Mercer County Housing Authority estimates it will have over $24 million in capital needs over the next 20 years. Capital funding grants from HUD have been steadily decreasing and now are expected to cover only 80% of what MCHA needs to maintain properties each year.
“In addition to the funds generated for capital needs, this RAD conversion from a public housing funding model to the Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) model helps Authorities budget more successfully as the contract rents are determined early in the year and can be used to more securely anticipate income.” says MCHA Executive Director Nannette Livadas. “And rents calculations will be unchanged; at 30% of income.”
The units will move from being the oversight responsibility of HUD’s Office of Public Housing to HUD’s Office of Multi-family Housing. Multi-family Housing oversees compliance for most privately-owned affordable housing developments.
MCHA is now searching for funders and development/consultant(s) to help with the initial feasibility of a full conversation to from public housing to TBRA.
December 9, 2011 marks the official dedication for the 20 unit housing complex located in the City of Sharon, Pa. The site is named after L. DeWitt Boosel, past Executive Director of Mercer County Housing Authority.
This is a non-smoking, elderly and accessible or visitable community. It is for persons 55 years of age or older. The building includes 3 levels with 14 one bedroom and 6 two bedroom units,
two of which are accessible to persons with mobility, and hearing/vision impaired persons. Also included are security cameras, central air-conditioning, laundry facilities and ample storage. A community room with a kitchen and spacious back patio with covered shelter provides gathering space for residents and their families. Apartments include a pass-through kitchen, cherry finished oak cabinets, ample lighting, ceramic/linoleum flooring, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. A part-time manager and resident services employee will be available for resident’s needs.
The dedication culminates a collaboration between the City of Sharon, Mercer County Housing Authority, Rien Construction and DPH Architects with two years of planning and construction
effort. This site will be ready for occupancy in December of 2011. 12/9/11