Minnesota housing agencies getting fewer federal dollarsby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The tight federal budget means Minnesota's public housing agencies are getting less money for building improvements.
The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority will get $10.6 million this fiscal year for maintenance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said. That's 8 percent less than what was received in 2011.
Minneapolis will see a nearly $950,000 hit. St. Paul is getting a reduction of $542,000. Duluth will take a similar cut.
For St. Paul, that means less to spend on regular repairs to the agency's 4,200 housing units. Most of the agency's buildings are old and need ongoing repairs, said St. Paul Housing Policy Director Al Hester.
"Our staff has been very conscientious over the years, trying to look down the road and see what needs to get fixed and fix it before it becomes a crisis," Hester said. "There are surprises at times that require us to reorder the priorities. But I don't want to say there's one particular thing that has to get done tomorrow or isn't going to get done because of the cut in funding."
The agency has been careful amid dwindling federal budgets, Hester said. However, St. Paul public housing is heavily dependent on federal funding except for the rent tenants pay.
"Typically it's things like repairing the exteriors of the high rises. We have 16 high rises, and the last one was completed in 1976, so over time there's need to work on that exterior envelope."