Canaan residents hear about housing grant, due to the state March 29
By Stephanie Johns
Nina Kelly, a planning and government services project manager with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC), was present during the recent Town Hall meeting hosted by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Madison.
Also present were city staff and two councilmen: Fred Perriman and Michael Naples.
Kelly spoke about a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) she will work on on behalf of the Canaan neighborhood.
She noted that this CDBG, a Neighborhood Revitalization Program, will be used to rehabilitate housing in the neighborhood.
There are three national objectives for this funding: to benefit low to moderate income home owners, to remove slum and blight and to address immediate threats and danger. She pointed out that this grant application will address the first two objectives while the third is “very unusual.”
Regarding the first objective: “low income” for this grant means that a family of four in Morgan County lives off an income of $48,250 per year or less.
Regarding the second objective: this area of the city already has been designated an area of slum and blight.
Kelly said that the state administers this money. She added that they could receive a maximum of $500,000 for a single activity to enhance and stabilize housing.
Within the next two weeks they need to refine what they want the money for, she said, as they must submit the application to the state by Friday, March 29.
She said they will hear back regarding the results either in September or early October.
“Nobody will be displaced as a result of this project,” she said.
Kelly noted that there is a lot of competition out there for these grants so they will need to collect demographic information to support project feasibility.
She explained that information gathered from residents helps support their application as it shows how the grant money would benefit those who need it most.
“They want to see long-term investment in the neighborhood,” she said.
Kelly said the grant also needs to show the impact the project will have, their strategy and how they plan to leverage additional resources.
Councilman Fred Perriman asked what would happen if a low-income person rents from a high-income person.
Kelly said that in that instance they would have to involve the homeowner.
“If we can’t connect with the owner, we can’t work on the home,” she said. “We’ll see what we need to do with that problem.”
The Rev. Cedric Cotton noted that the drainage and sewage needs currently benefiting from a CDBG grant will help property values as well as feelings about the properties.
Kelly said, “That helps you with this application as well.”
DDA Executive Director and City Planning Director Monica Callahan added, “It makes us more competitive.”
One attendee, Clarice Woods, asked if the program would benefit vacant houses.
Callahan said that it primarily looks at directly benefitting the living conditions of people.
Printed in the March 14, 2013 edition