The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 8, 2013

Agency: Tenants are in need of jobs

MERCER COUNTY — Only about half of families in Mercer County Housing Authority apartments who are eligible to work have jobs, and 78 percent of those working are making $15,000 or less, authority officials said.

“They’re either working minimum wage jobs or part time,” said Executive Director Nannette Livadas.

Mercer County Housing Authority has more family units than the authorities in Butler, Crawford or Beaver counties – those counties cater more to seniors – and the family sizes are larger here, but there are fewer working families on the average in Mercer County than in those counties, she said.

Those facts prompted officials to include in the preliminary updates to the strategic and agency plans the goal of doing more to help residents find work over the next five years, whether by initiating skills training or providing guidance with writing resumes and interviewing for jobs.

As part of that effort, officials want site managers to work more closely with the resident services department. There are only three resident services employees, and they need help of the site managers  to effectively meet resident needs.

“They have to be coordinated,” Livadas said.

Mindful that the federal government is unlikely to come through with enough money to meet all of the authority’s needs, officials also want to use their non-profit affiliate, Community Homebuyers Inc., which could access different types of funding than the authority, to possibly help with sponsoring programs and providing staff that could be shared with the authority.

The plans also reflect a recently completed physical needs assessment, which lists and prioritizes the repair needs of authority buildings over the next 20 years. While the overall health of the buildings is good, roofs don’t last forever, doors sometimes get broken and plumbing fixtures can wear out.

The assessment lists about $7 million in projects over the next five years, while the authority expects it will get only about $4.8 million during that span, in capital funds and operating funds diverted to capital projects.

While there is some hope the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will look at the assessment and increase capital funding as result of it, officials expect they will have to continue to prioritize projects to work within a limited budget.

Modernization and Accessibility Coordinator Kenneth K. Chuzie said the authority is mandated to upgrade handicapped accessibility, and those projects will reduce the amount of money left for other work.

“We make those choices every year,” Livadas said.

Looking outside of authority-owned properties, officials said they want to try to promote the Housing Choice Voucher Program – also known as Section 8 – where the federal government provides rent subsidies for low-income people to live in privately owned apartments.

Section 8 Coordinator Cheryl Artis said she plans to hold information sessions for landlords to learn about the Section 8 program, and try to attract participating landlords who live outside of Sharon and Farrell.

Most landlords seek information about the program when a potential tenant comes to their door with a voucher, Artis said. Staff members spend a lot of time talking on the telephone with landlords explaining the program, which requires inspections of apartments, she said.

“There are things they have to understand, but our rents are good,” Livadas said.

Section 8 residents typically are good tenants because they will lose their subsidies if they do not live up to their commitments, Artis said.

“A majority of our tenants take care of the units like they’re paying the mortgage,” she said.

A public hearing on the plans will be held March 13.

Text Only
Local News
  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014