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Grant to aid city's public service projects
Kenneth Howard - photo by Courier file photo
The Atlanta office of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department has approved the release of more than $300,000 to the city of Hinesville to continue revitalization efforts to assist low- to middle-income residents.
The Community Development Block Grant funds are the end result of a process that included the city’s submission of a five-year plan to the federal government that describes how the city will use funds that have been appropriated, said Ken Howard, Hinesville’s community development director.
The state reviewed the action plan and approved the funds. For the 2009-10 fiscal year, Hinesville will receive $301,370. The money will be divided among several entities, Howard said.
“A certain amount of this is set aside for the continued redevelopment of Azalea Street. This is a total redevelopment, and every year we budget some of these funds toward that project,” he said.
Since work first began to improve conditions in the Azalea Street neighborhood, Howard said, a community feel has returned to the neighborhood.
“This has been a community that was neglected to a certain degree,” he said. “Now you can see the vitality coming back. This is something we’re proud of.”
This year, Azalea Street is scheduled to receive approximately $177,000. The next-highest amount will go to Hinesville’s housing rehabilitation program, which is expected to receive about $54,000.
The rehabilitation program is designed to help low-income residents living in single-family housing upgrade their homes and be guaranteed decent, safe and sanitary housing, Howard said.
Homeowners can apply for these funds to make repairs and updates that will bring structures up to city code standards. Eligibility for the program is determined by a sliding scale, Howard said.
The city has also applied for an additional $80,000 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to further support its rehabilitation program. The amendment was submitted in June to the state HUD office. Howard said the funds would be used to address “substandard housing on a citywide basis.”
Other recipients who can expect to receive funds from the block grant are public service agencies: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): $15,000; Liberty County Senior Citizens, Inc.: $15,000; Liberty Regional Medical Center: $7,600; Helen’s Haven: $7,600.
Administrative costs associated with the grant will take about $25,000.
Howard said ongoing funding from the government is important for the continued renewal of Hinesville’s community, especially during an economic crisis.
“It is extremely important, especially in times like these. These funds are made available specifically for those who are less fortunate,” he said. “The deterioration of these [lower-income] communities will continue unless the government steps in and makes resources available.”
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