U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has awarded more than $1.9 billion to public housing authorities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funds will allow these agencies to make major large-scale improvements to their public housing units. HUD’s Capital Fund Program provides annual funding to all public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. This funding can be used to make large-scale improvements, such as new roofs and to make energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems. “While this funding will certainly help housing authorities address long-standing capital improvements, it only scratches the surface in addressing the deep backlog we’re seeing across the country,” said Donovan. “Housing authorities need nearly $26 billion to keep these homes safe and decent for families, but given our budget realities, we must find other, innovative ways to confront the decline of our public housing stock. That’s why we introduced our new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) as part of our comprehensive strategy to keep these homes on firm financial footing.” HUD recently released Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, a study that updated the national estimate of capital needs in the public housing stock in the U.S. The study found the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in much-needed large scale repairs. Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are the large-scale improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency. This study updates a 1998 analysis and includes costs to address overdue repairs, accessibility improvements for disabled residents, lead abatement, and water and energy conservation that would make the homes more cost effective and energy efficient. “Unless we transform the way we fund our public housing authorities, local managers will be increasingly forced to choose between repairing roofs, replacing plumbing, or worst of all, demolishing or selling their propertiesWe simply can’t afford to let that happen,” said Sandra B. Henriquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing.