$680,000 in upgrades planned for Beaufort housing

emoody@beaufortgazette.comNovember 25, 2013 

The Lowcountry Housing Authority received a $600,000 grant to repair and improve the low-income homes that it operates in Beaufort.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

The Beaufort Housing Authority, which provides and manages low-income housing, is planning almost $680,000 worth of upgrades and repairs to Beaufort and Yemassee homes.

The authority is rolling together two years of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants to maximize the work and reduce costs, executive director Angela Childers said.

"We combined 2012 and 2013, which really allowed us to get a better price and do more," she said.

The Capital Fund Program provides annual grants for repairs, renovations and modernization of residences, but does not allow "luxury" improvements, Childers said.

Work is expected to begin in January and could last through October. No residents will be displaced by the work, and most jobs will be completed in one day. Carl Garris & Son Contractors of Lake View won the contract. The authority has worked with the company previously, and it is expected to hire local laborers, Childers said.

Of the 320 units the authority manages in Beaufort and Yemassee, 117 will receive some type of upgrade.

That could include replacing outdated heating and air-conditioner units, upgrading wiring, adding solid interior doors and new showers and bathtubs. The units getting new heating and air units will also be changed from gas to electric heat.

The Beaufort homes were built in the mid-1970s and the Yemassee homes in 1982, Childers said. Air-conditioning units weren't installed until HUD started permitting them about 15 years ago.

"What's important is, when we built these units, they weren't allowed to have air," she said. "Heat, yes, but air wasn't considered a necessity by HUD. We were one of the first in the state to put them in when it became allowed."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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