City weighs allocation of HUD funding

Alachua County Senior Recreation Center
Alachua County Senior Recreation Center.
Photo courtesy of Alachua County

The city of Gainesville announced Friday during a public community engagement meeting that funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be officially allocated on Oct. 1.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will send the city $1.3 million and the Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) will send more than $600,000 for the city’s five-year consolidated plan.

Sixty-eight percent of the funding comes through two programs for housing and community development, with 32 percent geared toward homeownership assistance, housing rehabilitation, direct rental assistance and new construction of affordable housing, according to Housing Community Development Supervisor Vian Cockerham-Guinyard.

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“Affordable housing is now the center focus for the city of Gainesville,” Guinyard said. “Housing is always an issue, whether its rental, for sale or public housing.”

Guinyard said affordable housing is a consistent goal throughout a variety of city functions and planning. For that reason, the city has implemented a structure aimed at equitable distribution of the funds.

“We are setting aside $700,755.20 for the housing programs, which includes roof replacements, major rehabilitation and house replacement, and HUD allows us $271,438.80, which is 20 percent of the block grant for staff members who administrate the programs and work side by side with residents within the program,” Guinyard said.

There are many outside agencies that work in housing and public services, but in order to fairly distribute the money, they are allocated $185,000 for the housing programs and $200,000 for public services. That includes $25,000 set aside for the Cold Weather Shelter Program to assist citizens who are homeless with food, shelter, water and help during the times of a tropical storm or hurricane, according to Guinyard.

“The outside agencies’ process is very competitive,” Guinyard said. “It’s an application process that began on Thursday and agencies interested in the competition can apply until May 18.”

The city also decided to split the HOME program funds between the housing programs, down payment assistance program, major rehabilitation, house replacement and 10% funding for the block grant administration.

The city also covered other needs and concerns surrounding housing, public facilities, infrastructure, public services, and economic development.

Attendees of Friday’s meeting mostly expressed concern about three areas: disadvantaged or historically red lined areas, transportation, and the timeline for affordable housing.

The city has three more community engagement sessions planned this week:

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, at Thomas Center A -Long Gallery, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Senior Recreation Center, 5701 NW 34th Blvd.
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center, 2153 SE Hawthorne Road

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Roger's Corner

What are the cities labor and operating costs in administering all facets of these programs?

Jeff Gehmann

There you go: “equitable distribution of the funds” and “The city also decided to split the HOME program funds between…” more woke hands to muddy up the intended use of fed dollars. Great! Like these nuts who think they can run a regional utility and build out Free internet over a regional area for $100 million or more before it would have collapsed in debt. Not smart. Next time elect sensible, experienced leaders, not woke unsuccessful candidates who need the $48k annual salary.