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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awards public housing funding to Greensburg

U.S. HUD provides Westmoreland County with federal funding
U.S. HUD provides Westmoreland County with federal funding 02:34

GREENSBURG (KDKA) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded federal funding to public housing in multiple parts of Western Pennsylvania Thursday, including Westmoreland County, where the housing authority oversees 1,600 units.

Two years ago, Trish Walch moved into a Greensburg space run by the Westmoreland County Housing Authority, and she doesn't look back.

"I lived in different subsidized housing for five years and it was not the greatest," Walch said. "This place has afforded me, an infinite number of possibilities."

The agency recently received more than $216,000 from HUD as a part of the Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency Program also known as ROSS. It's money to help fund social services that will help equip folks with the tools and resources they need to achieve things like financial independence and to secure and retain better jobs.

HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Richard Monocchio visited with the local authority to discuss this award, along with a new one, an Emergency Safety and Security Grant worth $245,000.

"When it comes down to it, it's really about the people," Monocchio said. "At the end of the day, it is about quality of life. We invest in the housing, but we also invest in the health and safety of the residents."

According to FEMA, 15% of fires in Westmoreland County between 2015 and 2019 were residential fires, with nearly 48 percent from cooking. Specifically in the county, this money will go towards purchasing Fire Avert for all of their public housing communities, to help older residents who may have left their ovens on. It's a device that will automatically shut off the stove if smoke is detected.

"In the event that it happens again, where a resident maybe forgets when they leave the stove on, this system is in place to prevent a catastrophe and prevent a fire," Monocchio said.

As for Walch, she's thankful for the safety measures being taken.

"I'm just happy to be here, grateful," Walch said. 

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