H.U.D officials gathered alongside Johnstown’s ‘Quality Affordable Housing Task Force’ where they addressed and discussed the city’s public housing situation and the next steps in affordable housing within Johnstown.
The H.U.D official We spoke with says he remains optimistic about the city’s transition.
“We came to town to really learn about some of the challenges and the opportunities that are facing Johnstown from a housing and community development perspective,” said Matthew Heckles the Regional Administrator for the United States Housing and Urban Development.
Heckles says during the all day forum H.U.D and Johnstown officials discussed making Johnstown an overall better place to live, work and play.
“I know it’s going to be hard, I know it’s going to take some time; that’s why we came here today was to really make sure that we understood firsthand and could see with our own eyes, you know what it is that the city really needs and then also to figure out how we at the federal level can help,”
Michael Alberts, the Executive Director of the Johnstown Housing Authority mentioned one of those efforts is receiving a Technical Assistance Grant which H.U.D announced Thursday.
“They gave notice of that to the mayor that we would be receiving technical assistance to analyze our housing portfolio, see what kind of positive steps we can take going forward. What makes sense for our communities. Maybe one program from H.U.D will work for one and not for another So, it was good to see that already there’s positive progress coming out of this task force.”
Alberts says in the future they would also like to receive a choice neighborhoods grant from H.U.D which he believes would help with the city’s transformation.
“Some of the things that it came out today were just a lot of good collaboration, people that said they want to work together,”
“Some of these efforts that we talked about today are going to start to be seen by the community and change the way people think about Johnstown in a way that moves it forward over the next ten, fifteen years and well see a different place then.”