Federal stimulus cash headed toward area
March 3, 2009
By Larry Bivins
Green Bay Press Gazette
WASHINGTON — Some much-needed improvements to public housing in Northeastern Wisconsin could begin soon with the first allotment of federal dollars aimed at revitalizing the economy.
More than $6.5 million is making its way to the area from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rep. Steve Kagen’s office announced Monday. It is part of HUD’s $139.8 million allocation to the state.
The pot of money includes more than $300,000 each for the local housing authorities in Appleton and Green Bay. The funds are supposed to be used to develop, finance and modernize public housing.
Debra Dillenberg, executive director of the Appleton Housing Authority, said she wholeheartedly supported the $787 billion stimulus package that President Barack Obama signed Feb. 17 and is eager to begin putting her agency’s share of the money to use.
"These funds are going to make a substantial impact in the Fox Valley," Dillenberg said.
The money will allow the agency to repair floors, garages and roofs at 57 housing units the agency owns, Dillenberg said, as well as make improvements to a 152-unit high-rise for seniors.
In addition to providing a boost to the area’s construction industry, she said, "we’re going to be able to improve the long-term vitality of the housing we own."
The Appleton housing agency will get $353,969 for public housing development, financing and modernization. The Green Bay Housing Authority will get $341,467. Green Bay Housing Director Rob Strong was unavailable for comment, a spokeswoman said.
In addition, the city of Appleton will receive $161,702 in community development funds, while Green Bay will get $267,161.
Overall, HUD has designated $2.3 million in capital grants for Northeastern Wisconsin housing authorities. HUD also has directed $3.7 million in Native American Housing Block Grants to the area, including $1 million for the Menominee tribe and $1.4 million for the Oneidas.
"Through these grants, we are making an investment in our future and creating jobs right now," said Kagen, D-Appleton.