Pollock House Wins $300K Grant for Fire Alarm Replacement

HARRISBURG PA – Replacing a fire alarm installed 18 years ago in Pottstown’s Sidney Pollock House residential property, 450 E. High St., has become more feasible thanks to $300,000 in funding awarded by the state Housing Finance Agency.

Pollock House Wins $300K Grant for Fire Alarm Replacement

Money reserved for that project, and more than 20 others across Montgomery, Berks, and Chester counties, will come from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund. Gov. Tom Wolf announced funding recipients on June 9 (2022; Thursday). The agency’s list addresses 245 housing and community development needs in 67 counties, which will receive a total $48.4 million.

The program ensures communities are able to preserve existing and create new properties “so all Pennsylvanians have access to affordable, safe housing statewide,” Wolf explained. It also applies cash “where the need is greatest and can accomplish the most good,” he added.

At Sidney Pollock House (at top and above), operated by the Norristown-based Montgomery County Housing Authority, the fire alarm system was installed in 2004 and is “beyond its useful life,” according to an authority project description. System “parts have become obsolete, and (its) maintenance is difficult,” it noted. Replacement, it added, “is a life safety, capital need.”

The building consists of 102 units of subsidized rental housing occupied by seniors and people with disabilities. Replacing the alarm system, the authority wrote, “would contribute to the residential safety of some of county’s most vulnerable residents.”

The authority estimates the total replacement cost will amount to about $800,000, but it won’t be certain of that until bids are solicited, Executive Director Joel Johnson said Friday (June 24). Any gap, if it later exists, between the total cost and the agency grant likely will be covered by a combination of both internal and external funding sources, he added.

Ten projects in Montgomery County, including the Pollock House work, are scheduled to receive a total of more than $1.97 million; in Berks County, three projects will share in $905,000; and in Chester, 10 projects will receive a total of more than $2.82 million. Find the complete list of projects for which funding was reserved, here. Find descriptions of individual projects, organized by county, here.

Money to periodically replenish the state fund comes from two sources: fees collected from natural gas companies operating within Pennsylvania, intended to deal with housing shortages caused by drilling; and by a portion of realty transfer taxes.

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