Last updated: February 26. 2014 11:10PM - 2373 Views
By - smocarsky@civitasmedia.com



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WILKES-BARRE — The city’s director of Economic and Community Development on Wednesday detailed how his office spent nearly $2 million in federal money throughout the city last year.


The city receives three types of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Decelopment each year and is required to hold a public meeting to explain how the money was spent in the previous year.


Office of Economic and Community Development Director Kurt Sauer presided over that meeting Wednesday in council chambers. The spending is detailed in a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report, which is available for review.


In 2013, the city received $1,563,671 in Community Development Block Grant funding, $112,690 in Emergency Solutions funding and $264,880 in HOME funding.


The CDBG funds went towards the following projects:


• Public facilities — about $396,000 for paving on North Pennsylvania Avenue and South Main, South Sherman and Darling streets.


• Fire equipment — about $720,000 towards purchases of an ambulance, a fire rescue boat, a defibrillator and an air recharge vehicle.


• Public services — about $205,000 in allotments made to the YMCA, Child Care, the Osterhout Library, Catholic Social Services, United Rehabilitation, Victims Resource Center, Community Policing and Ruth’s Place, a shelter for homeless women.


• Demolition — about $155,000 for the former Hotel Sterling and about $9,500 for a dilapidated house.


• Emergency Housing Rehabilitation — about $78,000 spent on 14 units. This program helps keep people in their homes by providing things such as a new furnace or roof.


The Emergency Solutions Program, formerly the Emergency Shelter Program, addresses homelessness issues. Funding was awarded to the Commission on Economic Opportunity, a domestic violence program, Catholic Social Services and Ruth’s Place.


And HOME Program money was spent to assist in the construction of new homes in the Courtright Project.


“We did a mixture of everything from public improvements to ADA ramps, to public services, to a major demolition project. There were some single family homes we tore down also. … We served 923 clients through all the programs,” Sauer said. “We accomplished a lot in 2013.”


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