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 $800,000 to help strengthen neighborhoods in Harris County

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced that it has awarded a federal grant to the Harris County Housing Authority designed to enhance homeownership opportunities, helping stop declining home values and keeping the community vibrant.

TDHCA awarded $802,792 to the housing authority, which will use the funds to purchase eight homes directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is offering the homes at a substantial discount from their appraised value.  The housing authority will then rehabilitate and re-sell the homes to eligible low income households.

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 the Harris County Housing Authority will make excellent use of these funds, providing greater stability to both the homebuyer 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 HUD. Approximately $71 million of this total was previously identified by the federal agency 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 Harris County, this is equal to an annual income of $32,550 for a family of four.

For more information regarding this grant award, contact the Harris County Housing Authority at (713) 578-2100.

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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