HRA will apply for homelessness prevention funds for projectsThe Washington County Board of Commissioners voted in two separate actions Tuesday, June 23 authorize staff request for more federal stimulus dollars for housing projects.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted in two separate actions Tuesday, June 23 authorize staff request for more federal stimulus dollars for housing projects.
The board voted to authorize the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to apply for $1.3 million in federal stimulus money to provide homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services to homeless people and those at risk of losing their homes.
According to a staff report if the federal grant is received the county HRA will work with area non-profit agencies – East Metro Women’s Council, Humans Services, Inc., Community Action Program, FamilyMeans, Tubman/Chrysalis, the Salvation Army and the Minnesota Veterans Assistance Center – to provide services.
Services could include housing placement services, utility payment assistance, paying security deposits or helping with credit repair or moving expenses.
Those who would be helped by the program include those facing eviction, those living in unsafe overcrowded situations, or those being discharged from an institution, or those who meet the federal Housing and Urban Development definition of homeless.
All recipients would be at or below 50 percent of the area median income guideline.
The board also voted to approve an application for federal stimulus funds to help pay for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes in the county.
Washington County will enter a consortium with Anoka, Dakota, Ramsey, Scott and Chisago counties to apply for the funds, which will be awarded on a competitive basis.
If the $2.5 million is awarded, it would be used in specific neighborhoods in St. Paul Park, Woodbury, Forest Lake, Hugo, Cottage Grove and Oakdale.
The money would be used to buy and rehabilitate some units, provide loans to owners to rehabilitate their homes, and provide down payment assistance for other potential homeowners. The cities were chosen because of their numbers of foreclosed homes.
If received, the funds must be spent by Sept. 1, 2012, and a portion of the funds must benefit households at or below 50 percent of the median income in the metro area.