Oklahoma City to Get Close to $10M from Stimulus

Saturday, February 28th 2009, 10:44 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Just over one-week ago, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, and Oklahoma will get nearly $120 million through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The money has been earmarked for three specific areas, including community block grants, emergency shelters for the homeless and public housing.

The Wyatt F. Jeltz housing unit for seniors in NE Oklahoma City is one of the projects getting upgrades from the Oklahoma City Housing Authority.

"We're focusing primarily on energy," said Melanie Buckley of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority. "Anything that would improve energy performance...for example, we have windows that are not energy efficient. We're going to be replacing those."

The project will be funded with money the Housing Authority received in federal stimulus money, about $6.2 million in all.

"We're real excited. There's a lot of backlogs and modernization work that we've needed for a long time," Buckley said. "We're ready to move on it."

The Housing Authority has about $30 million in backlog work.

The stimulus plan gives the state more than $25 million in public housing money, more than $8 million in community block grant money and more than $12 million in homelessness prevention.

Homelessness is where the City of Oklahoma City plans to spend the bulk of the money it received.

"We want to try and get people homeless back into housing as soon as possible," said Russell Claus, Oklahoma City Planning Director. "The sooner you can get them back in housing, the more you avoid all the other issues that accompany homelessness."

The city is getting about $3.5 million. The rest will go to block grants which in the past helped build the Dell facility and refurbish the Skirvin Hotel.

"There are a range of different programs out there that we can support," Claus said.

Both agencies said they expect the money will generate jobs through the contractors they hire to do the work.

Read the full breakdown of how the stimulus funds will be distributed in Oklahoma.