City Proposes Two New CDBG Programs

Kacie Foulk, Jamestown deputy director of housing policy and development, speaks about possible new Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs during Monday’s City Council Housing Committee as Brent Sheldon, R-Ward 1, and William Reynolds, R-Ward 5, look on. P-J photo by John Whittaker

Two new programs may be on their way to the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant and HOME program.

Kacie Foulk, city deputy director of housing policy and development, discussed the programs during Monday’s City Council Housing Committee meeting.

The first program is a demolition and rebuild program through which the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency would purchase a property that is scheduled to be demolished, solicit bids for demolition and then is sold with the new owner paying half of the demolition cost. A home would then be built on the site using some money from the city’s HOME program allotment from the federal government.

“Under these guidelines that HUD sets though, it has to be the same footprint,” Foulk said. “So if we knock down a three bedroom, two bath, 1,300 square foot home we have to replace it with the same thing. And it would have to go to low- to moderate-income homeowners. We don’t really know what a subsidy would look like. To build a new home right now is over $200,000 in materials and labor so we don’t know if that is a reasonable project at this time but maybe something to look for in the future when the costs have decreased.”

City Councilman Joe Paterniti, D-Ward 4, asked about using Habitat for Humanity as a partner to build the new home as a way to decrease the costs. Foulk said the idea has been discussed but the timing wasn’t right the last time city officials reached out to Habitat for Humanity.

“We definitely could,” Foulk said. “We have had talks about some collaboration with Habitat but as they were going through changes and we were going through changes it didn’t really make sense at that time. It’s definitely something we can do. Right now we’re working with CHRIC, CODE and COI. I don’t think it would be the end of the world if we partnered with someone else.”

Foulk also discussed a proposed TBRA Homebuyer Program that would see JURA partner with an agency that actively rents single family housing units to establish a Tenant Based Renters Assistance Program that would subsidize rent for up to 24 months for a lease-purchase agreement plan. The rent subsidy would go into an escrow account to be used as a down payment to purchase the home at the end of the 24 months. The money put into the escrow account would be replaced by the federal money and paid to the agency so it receives all the rent it is scheduled to receive.

“If there was someone in a rental home and the tenant wanted to purchase the home down the road, they could enter a lease purchase agreement, like a rent to own situation, and the city would help fund their rent,” Foulk said. “There are a couple of different options on how it could run, but the goal is after two years they would have about $13,000 toward the downpayment and hopefully money in their own bank accounts to help be prepared for closing costs.”

Because Jamestown is a federal Entitlement Community, it receives CDBG and HOME funding each year. CDBG money is used to pay for beat patrols in neighborhoods, anti-blight initiatives in city neighborhoods, programs to reduce child lead poisoning and handicapped accessibility improvements as well as economic development programs. HOME program funding is used for home rehabilitation, emergency repairs and funding for Community Housing Development Organizations like CHRIC and COI.

William Reynolds, D-Ward 5 and Housing Committee chairman, said there are still two public input sessions scheduled for the 2024 CDBG and HOME program plan. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fletcher Elementary School and May 2 at Bush Elementary School. The plans will also be discussed at the May 6 Housing Committee meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall with a public hearing May 20 at 7 p.m. prior to the City Council’s regular meeting.

“Attendance is not normally very fulfilling. … It’s a requirement by HUD,” Reynolds said. “We as a city and a department put those notices out to solicit suggestions and hear concerns and get ideas. Really I would recommend folks to attend one just to learn the process and learn what in fact is available to many of our residents based on the income formulas that are in this. I would strongly urge folks to attend not only the ward sessions but the Housing Committee session in early May.”


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