Natchez Housing Authority receives $1M grant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — More than 500 low-income housing residents will reap the benefits of a $1 million grant awarded to the Natchez Housing Authority.

Executive Director Alan Ingram announced Wednesday the housing authority will use the grant funds provided by the Mississippi Development Authority to replace vinyl siding at seven of its nine developments.

The developments include Cedars Apartments, Maryland Heights Apartments, Shaw Apartments, Williams Apartments, DeMarco Square, Charles Courts and Rawes Terrace.

“I got (the grant letter) right at closing time (Tuesday),” Ingram said. “There are only two categories of expenditures — repairs and improvement to the exterior of the buildings and the architectural fees that are involved.

“This particular funding was made available for disaster recovery, and our buildings did have a lot of damage during Hurricane Gustav.”

Ingram was notified of the grant by the Housing and Urban Development office in Jackson. Submitting the grant application was a collaborative effort among Ingram, longtime consultant William “Bubba” Harper, architect and Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard and maintenance director Ray Jackson.

“(The grant) was needed, we worked hard on it to put it together and this will be the largest grant we have ever received,” Ingram said.

Ingram said the grant monies couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s a huge, huge help,” Ingram said. “Every time we have a significant wind, the wind would get behind (the vinyl siding) and just rip it off.”

Ingram said the vinyl siding will be replaced with a more durable and more attractive material.

“We’ll be putting (the money) to use as quickly as we go through paperwork and the advertising process,” Ingram said.

Currently, the housing authority is scheduling pre-construction meetings for upgrades for its 296 units.

The upgrades include roof repairs, new kitchen cabinets, new toilets and new showerheads, which will be paid with more than $700,000 in federal stimulus funds.

“Every unit will have some (upgrade) done to it,” Ingram said. “It’s going to be a big state of construction which will be going on for quite a while.”