The renovation of a deteriorating housing authority complex in Manhasset now requires residents to pay their own electric bills, as the North Hempstead Housing Authority and other municipalities cut energy costs for their aging facilities.
Residents of Pond View Homes are to pay their own electric bills, to be subsidized by an $80 monthly grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The shift in coverage comes as the North Hempstead Housing Authority has added new heating, plumbing and electrical facilities to the five-building, 52-unit development, which houses 250 people and was last remodeled in 1998.
“Everybody is now responsible for their own electric meters. This makes them a little more conscious” of costs, said Sean Rainey, the executive director of the North Hempstead Housing Authority. “It’s a lot better for the environment. It teaches responsibility for energy efficiency.”
Policies for covering electric costs vary across Long Island’s 11 public housing authorities. With the Pond View renovation, expected to be completed entirely by the fall, nearly all residents of the North Hempstead Housing Authority would be required to pay their own electric bills.
Islip Town has required public housing residents to pay the bills for nearly two decades, subsidized by a federal public housing program. Southampton Housing Authority residents pay their own electric bills, and Huntington Town has required residents to foot the bill for more than a decade as new facilities were built or renovated. However, Oyster Bay’s Housing Authority covers electric costs for residents.
When the Huntington Housing Authority converted a public housing development into a low-income tax credit property in 2013, the agency shifted the electrical costs to residents of that complex, the Gateway Gardens Facility.
Some housing authority directors have complained of cuts to federal funding in recent years. Siela Bynoe, Executive Director of the Huntington Housing Authority, said that federal housing officials “strongly encouraged [municipal housing authorities] to take energy efficiencies to make sure we are spending our dollars wisely.”
Islip Housing Authority officials have adopted energy-saving measures in recent years, from sealing pipes, outlets and wires to adding low-flow showerheads and LED fixtures. The Huntington Housing Authority and Southampton Housing Authority have moved from an oil to gas heating system, and Huntington officials said the change led to a $33,000 drop in heating costs over a five-year period and a $45,000 reduction in electric expenses.
The Pond View facilities were declining, officials said. A heating pipe connecting all five buildings failed recently and needed to be replaced. Floorboards were loose, popping up in some homes. Other efficiencies include better insulation to the buildings.
“The old design was just falling apart,” Rainey said.
The renovation adds 16 parking spaces and a community room to the Manhasset complex. The Hagedorn Foundation, a Roslyn nonprofit, donated $20,000 to build a playground on the property.
Housing efficiencies across LI
- Adoption of pay-your-own electric bill policies in North Hempstead and Huntington Housing Authorities in recent years
- Addition of LED fixtures, low-flow showerheads at the Islip Housing Authority
- Move from oil to gas heating in Southampton and Huntington’s authorities