PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan said Wednesday $117,442,931 has been awarded to public housing authorities in Pennsylvania to make "major large-scale improvements to public housing units."

This funding is part of $1.8 billion being awarded to public housing authorities in all 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Locally, the Columbia County Housing Authority will receive $84,740; Northumberland County Housing Authority, $267,650; Schuylkill County Housing Authority, $716,291; Shamokin Housing Authority, $232,119, and Sunbury Housing Authority, $361,287.

The grants are provided through HUD's Capital Fund Program, which provides annual funding to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. These housing authorities use the funding to do large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.

"This funding is critically important in helping Pennsylvania's public housing authorities provide the best housing possible for their residents," said Jane C.W. Vincent, regional administrator of HUD's Mid-Atlantic region.

"While it does not sufficiently address the backlog of capital needs, significant efforts are underway to generate additional funding in private investment for much-needed improvements."

The nation continues to lose approximately 10,000 public housing units each year, primarily due to disrepair, HUD reported. In 2011, the department released Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, a study that estimated the capital needs in the public housing stock in the U.S. The study found the nation's 1.1 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs. Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are extensive improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.

In turn, the Obama Administration proposed the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a comprehensive strategy that complements the Capital Fund Program. Since Congress approved the RAD demonstration in November 2011, early results show it is generating significant additional capital for public and assisted housing, HUD reports.