Politics & Government

Housing stimulus funds headed for SC

WASHINGTON -- Federal housing officials Wednesday released $10 billion in stimulus funds, with $117.2 million headed for South Carolina.

Most other states also began accessing $15 billion in Medicaid funds from President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic-stimulus plan, but South Carolina can't draw on its $172 billion share until it broadens eligibility rules and services.

Shaun Donovan, U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, noted that the HUD stimulus funds were available to states, cities and counties just eight days after Obama signed the stimulus bill into law.

"They will generate tens of thousands of jobs, help the families and communities hardest hit by the economic crisis and modernize homes to make them energy efficient," Donovan said.

The federal agency said it will release as early as next week an additional $2.5 billion in competitively awarded grants to help mitigate foreclosures and create green jobs.

Public housing authorities across South Carolina will receive $35.9 million to develop, finance and modernize their facilities. A primary focus of the money is to make public housing more energy-efficient and to perform critical safety repairs.

Midlands public housing authorities will get almost $7 million, while Myrtle Beach-area agencies will receive more than $2.4 million. Housing authorities in Rock Hill and surrounding towns will get more than $2 million.

The Beaufort Housing Authority is slated to receive $652,145, with the Kingstree agency receiving an additional $333,078.

In separate legislation, the House passed a $410 billion appropriations bill that will steer about $6 billion to South Carolina through dozens of federal programs.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said he steered $35 million of the funds for 27 projects across the state.

Among the largest projects are $10 million for Lake Marion water-quality pipelines; almost $10 million for science programs at the state's historically black colleges and universities; and $4.6 million to develop the I-95/U.S. 301 interchange.

Of the HUD stimulus funds released Wednesday, 89 landlords and property managers that provide Section 8 rental units for low-income residents will get $26.3 million in stimulus funds.

The S.C. Housing, Finance and Development Authority will get $25.4 million intended to kick-start the construction of affordable rental housing projects that rely on low-income tax credits.

The state government will receive $11.1 million to administer a range of homelessness-prevention programs.

Additionally, Richland, Lexington, Horry, Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg counties, plus the City of Columbia, will divide a total of $4.65 million to run shelters, food banks and prevent homelessness.

The state government will get $5.9 million for community development block grants to rehabilitate affordable housing and improve other public facilities.

Richland, Lexington, Horry, Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg counties will divide another $2.7 million in CDBG funds, with Columbia, Rock Hill and seven other cities splitting an additional $1.6 million.

In stimulus funding for other HUD programs, the City of Charleston will receive $3 million to eliminate dangerous lead from low-income homes, and the Catawba Indian Tribe will receive $507,146 to renovate housing and make it more energy-efficient.