Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2010
Media Contact:
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743

State housing agency awards $1.2 million to help strengthen neighborhoods in Travis County

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced that is has awarded a major federal grant to a local nonprofit organization designed to enhance homeownership opportunities in Travis County, helping stop declining home values and keeping the community vibrant.

TDHCA awarded $1.2 million to Austin Habitat for Humanity, which the organization will use to finance the construction of 32 homes on property it owns. The investment in each home will be provided to eligible low income households as homebuyer assistance, secured with a deferred, forgivable second lien.

The award was made through the Department’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), an innovative grant program originating through the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

“TDHCA is committed to allocating these funds in a fast and effective manner to help neighborhoods across Texas stop the long slide toward blight and remain healthy, viable places to call home,” said Michael Gerber, TDHCA Executive Director. “We are confident that Austin Habitat for Humanity will successfully help these households transition to homeowners, providing greater stability to both the families and the local tax base. It is innovative collaborations like this that will help place distressed communities on the path to recovery.”

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is designed to help cities, counties, and eligible nonprofit organizations acquire and/or redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight. NSP provides funds to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate or redevelop these homes to serve low to moderate households, helping to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes.

Texas in 2009 received approximately $173 million in NSP funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Approximately $71 million of this total was previously identified by HUD as a direct allocation to 14 cities and counties with the greatest needs. TDHCA, together with the Texas Department of Rural Affairs and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, is administering the remaining $102 million.

Eligible activities include the demolition or removal of blighted structures; financing mechanisms for the purchase of foreclosed, abandoned, or redeveloped homes; the acquisition of such homes for sale or rent to income eligible households; the rehabilitation of homes and residential units; and the management and disposition of vacant land through land banks to revitalize neighborhoods.

While HUD rules allow NSP funds to target a range of low to moderate household incomes, applicants will be required to set a goal of expending at least 35 percent of their award assisting households at or below 50 percent of area median income. However, this goal may vary by area and activity. For Travis County, this is equal to an annual income of $36,900 for a family of four.

For more information regarding this grant award, contact Austin Habitat for Humanity at (512) 472.8788.

About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.

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