The local housing authority has been awarded $371,909 in federal funds to repair and upgrade its 234 rental apartments.

The allocation is part of $1.9 billion awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding can be used to make large-scale improvements such as new roofs and new plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.

“Our county’s public housing was built mostly in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is in relatively good condition,” said Ken Cole, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz.

He said the 234 apartments are located in small-scale developments of about 15 units, with 12 in Capitola, 32 in the City of Santa Cruz, 57 in unincorporated areas of the county and 133 in the City of Watsonville.

Over the next year the local housing authority will undertake mprovements such as siding repair, exterior painting, landscaping improvements and parking lot resurfacing. As tenants move out and apartments become temporarily vacant, they will get new carpets, appliances and paint.

For large complex jobs, the agency requests bids by placing ads in newspapers.

“For smaller jobs we obtain bids from a list of vendors we have on file,” said Cole, noting all improvements are done by licensed and insured contractors.

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