Westmoreland housing authority ownership change expected to increase revenue
Westmoreland County’s housing authority transferred ownership of nearly 10% of the agency’s public housing units as part of a reorganization officials said will enable it to increase money it receives for needed capital improvements.
“This is a decision that makes all the sense in the world. We will get more money from this, and it gives us the ability to secure capital funding to renovate those units,” said Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Washowich.
No money will directly change hands as part of the transfer. Housing authority officials said the transfer was essentially a paper transaction to reclassify the units into a different subsidized housing program.
The move stems from a policy change enacted last year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that allows for the transfer of ownership of public housing units to subsidized housing programs that utilize federally-funded vouchers. The program shift will change the manner in which the authority receives funding for those units but is not expected to impact tenants who live in those units, Washowich said.
Federal funding for the voucher program has been more secure in recent years, meaning the authority expects to receive more money to operate those units, according to authority administrators.
“Tenants will see no shifts in rent. They won’t even know this happened,” Washowich said.
The authority operates about 1,800 public housing units. The eight properties impacted by the transfer are in Vandergrift, Arnold, Lower Burrell, Latrobe, Derry, Jeannette, Greensburg and Penn Township. Ownership of 174 housing units will be transferred to the Westmoreland Nonprofit Housing Corp., a subsidiary of the authority that currently operates about 350 housing units in eight housing communities throughout the county.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .