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Century old apartment building updated

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Tiffney Henson / WOWK-TV. The Huntington Housing Authority has an inventory of 913 public housing units. Tiffney Henson / WOWK-TV. The Huntington Housing Authority has an inventory of 913 public housing units.
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By JAMES E. CASTO
For The State Journal

The Huntington Housing Authority has breathed new life into a century-old apartment building located on Huntington's historic South Side. 

The six-unit building, thought to have been built about 1910, now has new plumbing, a new electrical system, new energy-efficient windows and doors, new heating and cooling systems and new kitchens. 

The authority purchased and updated the old apartment building as part of a current effort to move away from large public housing projects and instead concentrate on providing low-income housing in small apartment buildings and single-family homes.

The structure, located at 640 9th Ave., was originally named the Emerson Building and later became known as the Morgan Building. In a Jan. 31 ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony, it was re-named once again the J. Edgar Shaffer Building in honor of Ed Shaffer, who served on the Housing Authority for more than 15 years. 

Now retired, Shaffer formerly owned and operated Wilson Welding Co. Inc. in Huntington. 

The 19,800-square foot building has one four-bedroom unit and five two-bedroom units. Rehabilitating the building was a $600,000 project, said Authority Director William Dotson. A grant of $103,400 from the West Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund paid for some of the work, including installation of a sprinkler system. 

Dotson said the apartments will be rented to members of "the working poor — people who make 80 percent of the area's median income or less." 

The Huntington Housing Authority now has an inventory of 913 public housing units, 1,500 Section 8 units (through which the authority subsidizes private landlords) and 600 private units through its sister company, the Housing Development Corp.