Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2011
Media Contact:
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743

State housing agency awards $50,000 to area nonprofit, continues innovative program started with stimulus funds

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced a $50,000 award to help a local nonprofit organization offering an innovative program which will help area low income residents address the nutritional needs of the community and improve the quality of life for area residents.

The Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas will use the award to operate a pilot project providing low income clients education, job training and employment, focusing on cutting-edge “aquaponics” farming techniques with traditional organic gardening concepts to grow food for the community and increase employment opportunities for its residents. 

Aquaponics is the method of growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system, typically on raised vertical beds. The Urban League anticipates assisting 50 area residents with the award.

The program was previously funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 – commonly referred to as the stimulus package – through the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program. However, all ARRA CSBG services were to be provided on or before September 30, 2010, under ARRA guidelines, meaning the organization’s funding for this initiative ended.

“Helping Texans achieve self-sufficiency is a priority of the CSBG Program and a critical component of the Department’s mission,” said Michael Gerber, TDHCA Executive Director. “We value our partnership with successful agencies such as the Urban League in continuing innovative programs that offer the hope of eliminating poverty. The Department did not want to see this concept disappear with the stimulus funds, so we have stepped up to the plate to make a difference in the community.”

The award is under TDHCA’s CSBG Program and represents a portion of the state’s annual allocation from the federal government. The Department set aside this funding specifically to ensure the continuation of 11 highly regarded projects previously funded under ARRA CSBG, including the nutritional assistance program offered by the Urban League of Greater Dallas. 

The CSBG Program assists individuals earning no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which equals an annual income of $27,937 for a family of four. Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supports a variety of direct services in addition to helping maintain the core administrative elements of local partner organizations.

Services supported through the CSBG Program include child care, health and human services, transportation, job training and employment services, housing, substance abuse prevention, migrant worker assistance, and a variety of related services.

TDHCA in 2009 awarded a total of $47.6 million in ARRA CSBG funds to its network of 45 local and regional nonprofit organizations to further assist low income Texans in their efforts to achieve financial and personal independence.

In total, over 98,000 Texans across the state were assisted through ARRA CSBG funds. Texas leads the five most populous states in expenditure rate of these stimulus funds.

For more information on the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas or its programs, please contact the agency directly at (214) 915-4600. For more information about the CSBG Program, please contact TDHCA’s Community Services Section at (512) 475-3950 or visit the program’s Web site at www.tdhca.state.tx.us/cs.htm#csbg.

About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page. 

- 30 -