Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, is a major urban area located along the Arkansas River in Pulaski County. It was chartered in 1835 and recently changed from a Council-Manager form of government to a Mayor-Council format. The largest employers in Little Rock are governmental entities, hospitals, and public schools.
For the first year of the Consolidated Plan, the city of Little Rock is requesting $2,432,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, $874,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds, and $95,000 in an Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG). In conjunction with Federal resources, the city intends to use other sources of funding to maximize the leveraging of assistance in supporting 22 projects.
The city of Little Rock began the planning process with an advertised public hearing on October 17, 1994. Throughout the planning process, meetings were held weekly in the areas targeted for redevelopment. Numerous organizations and individuals were consulted to collect information on community needs, and to solicit suggestions on programs and funding that would address identified needs.
A public hearing was conducted on March 7, 1995, in order to receive citizen
input on the Consolidated Plan's recommendations and proposed use of funds. The
Little Rock Board of Directors approved the activities and funding
recommendations as presented. Copies of the preliminary plan were made available
on March 24, 1995, and distributed to various public locations, including all
Central Arkansas Libraries. Additional citizen comments were reviewed,
considered, and incorporated into the final Consolidated Plan, which was
approved by the Board of Directors on May 2, 1995.
According to the 1990 census, Little Rock has a population of 175,795, an 11 percent increase over the 1980 census figure. Of the total population, 65 percent are white, 34 percent are African American, and less than 2 percent are Hispanic, Native American, or Asian American. Little Rock residents have an education level higher than the national average. Eighty-two percent of Little Rock citizens are high school graduates, while over 30 percent have bachelor's or higher degrees.
Of the city's 72,437 households, 23 percent are extremely low-income (0-30 percent of median family income [MFI]) and very low-income (31-50 percent of MFI). Fifteen percent are low-income (51-80 percent of MFI), and 8 percent are moderate-income (81-95 percent of MFI). Fifty-four percent of households are above the median-income (95 percent of MFI). Furthermore, 16 percent of white households are extremely low- and very low- income, while 13 percent are low-income, and 8 percent are moderate-income. Forty percent of African American households are extremely low- and very low-income, while 20 percent are low-income, and 9 percent are moderate-income.
Little Rock's 1992 per capita personal income was $20,105, which was 93 percent of the national and Pulaski County averages. Little Rock's 1995 median family income is $38,300, which is above the Arkansas average of $30,500, but below the national average of $40,200.
Little Rock is particularly concerned about those areas containing over 95
percent concentration of non-white populations. These areas include a large part
of census Tract 2 in the city's northeast section, and parts of census Tracts
4-6, 8, and 11-13 in the city's central section. The city must intervene in
these densely-populated areas in order to alleviate neighborhood housing,
economic, and community development problems. The downtown area appears to
require the most housing assistance because of lower incomes and higher
population densities. Census Tracts 8, 10, and 11 contain other areas of concern
because 75 percent of the population is low-income.
Employment has increased steadily since a recessionary period in the early 1980s. Manufacturing jobs have declined from 19 percent of the labor force in 1980 to 13 percent in 1992. Employment in the wholesale/retail trade, finance, insurance, government, and service industries has increased over the same period. As of January 1995, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, versus a national rate of 5.7 percent. (Usually, the Little Rock unemployment rate is at least 1 percentage point lower than the national rate.)
In 1990 the city of Little Rock had 80,985 housing units, 10 percent of which were vacant. Of the total occupied households in Little Rock, renter households and owner households are 42 percent, and 58 percent, respectively. Of the 42,191 owner households in Little Rock, 13 percent are extremely low- and very low-income households, while 27 percent are elderly households. Although the elderly households require some form of assistance, other owner households warrant greater investment of available programs and resources because these households are more numerous than elderly households.
In 1994 the average sales price for a single family home was $88,651. In 1995 terms over 61 percent of structures would be affordable to a four-person median income household earning $38,300, the area's 1995 MFI. Approximately 45 percent of structures would be affordable to low-income households, but only 19 percent of structures would be affordable to extremely low- and very low-income households.
Among rental housing units, over 85 percent of all units have rents below the current fair market rent of $469 for a two-bedroom unit. Of all rental housing units, 78 percent are two- bedroom units.
In 1994 466 more units were constructed than lost through demolition. The city has also reduced its number of substandard structures from 6,466 in 1960 to 414 in 1990. This decline can be attributed to increased emphasis on code enforcement, which resulted in greater demolition efforts, and to increased neighborhood revitalization, which utilized public as well as private programs and funding.
Very low-income elderly owner households represent more than half of all very low-income owner households. Sixty-nine percent of extremely low-income elderly households pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing and utility costs, while 39 percent pay 50 percent or more. Nearly three-quarters of all other extremely low-income owner households are cost burdened with a housing cost of 30 percent or more, while half are burdened with a housing cost of 50 percent or more.
Among very low-income owner households, non-elderly households require the most assistance, particularly large African American households. These owner households experience more housing problems and overcrowding than individual or elderly owner households.
Currently, 36 percent of all renters are classified as very low-income, with three-quarters of these households are experiencing housing problems. Of the very low-income households being cost burdened, small and large renter households show the greatest need. Sixty-four percent of small extremely low-income households and 65 percent of very low-income large renter households experience severe cost burden. Fifty-eight percent of very low-income elderly renter households experience housing problems.
The households requiring the greatest assistance are the small and large renter households and owner households in the very low-income range. Little Rock intends to focus primarily on increasing homeownership opportunities for very low- and low-income residents. Extremely low-income residents will be assisted through job training as well as homebuyer and credit counseling so that they will be able to secure employment, establish credit, qualify for home mortgages, and receive training in homeownership and home maintenance responsibilities.
Approximately 15 percent of the population in Little Rock is elderly. Of the elderly households, nearly 2,242 require supportive housing. Furthermore, there are approximately 3,775 frail elderly persons living in over 2,500 households. Of the frail elderly, nearly 500 require supportive housing.
There are approximately 4,000 homeless persons in Little Rock, not including the unsheltered homeless. Of these 1,444 persons are members of 481 homeless families with children. Almost two-thirds of the homeless population require services related to severe mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, or both. Other segments of the homeless population requiring services for related problems include: 16 percent for domestic violence; 10 percent for homeless youth; 8 percent for victims of fire, flood, and other natural disaster; and 1 percent for AIDS related diseases.
Currently, the Little Rock Housing Authority manages 8 housing projects, containing 1,646 housing units. Three of these projects, totaling 600 units, are intended for elderly, handicapped, and disabled residents. The February 1995 waiting list of approved applicants identified 104 persons who required housing units in Housing Authority developments, while the March 1995 vacancy rate was 36 percent. (Deteriorated housing units, crime, gang violence, and drug use made many Housing Authority units undesirable and uninhabitable to approved applicants on the waiting list.)
The Section 8 program provides rental certificates and housing vouchers. There are 1,066 assisted units in the Little Rock Section 8 Existing Housing Programs. Furthermore, two housing developments - - Asbury Park, containing 106 family units, and Audubon Park, containing 203 elderly units - - are being constructed under Section 8 New Construction. However, neither development has any vacancies, and 23 applicants appear on a waiting list.
Little Rock currently has 2,518 additional units for assisted or subsidized housing, and these housing units are funded through various programs, including Sections 8, 202, 236, and 221(d)(4). Of the 24 assisted and subsidized housing developments, 7 have units designated for the elderly, handicapped, and/or developmentally disabled persons.
Little Rock has approximately 7,100 households with special needs requiring supportive housing. They include: the elderly, the frail elderly, persons with severe mental illness, the developmentally disabled, the physically disabled, persons with alcohol or drug addictions, and persons with AIDS and related diseases. These households may require financial assistance, supportive services that work in conjunction with assisted housing, or housing modifications that increase accessibility.
No ordinances or administrative procedures impede the development of affordable housing. Recently the city formed a Landbank Authority and Housing Partnership, whose goal is to increase the supply of lots and funding for affordable housing. Furthermore, crime levels are continually reviewed in order to determine negative affects on affordable housing.
The court order having the most significant affect on affordable housing efforts is the Little Rock School System Desegregation Case. The city is unable to rejuvenate deteriorating, disinvested neighborhoods while inadequate, racially-segregated educational facilities exit.
In order to rectify the problems within its public school system, Little Rock must quickly find workable solutions that will resolve the desegregation issue, raise education standards, and provide safe, quality educational facilities.
Approximately 65,050 housing units (80 percent) of all housing units in Little Rock were constructed prior to 1979, when lead-based paint was banned. Of these housing units, half are renter-occupied, and as many as 43,402 (74 percent) are inhabited by low- and very low-income families.
Little Rock plans to use a portion of a $3,000,000 Federal grant to conduct more blood-lead level tests on children, providing a better estimate of structures containing lead-based paint hazards. After lead-based paint hazards have been identified, funds will be used to complete abatement requirements. The Arkansas Health Department has also increased its emphasis on educating the public about the lead-based paint hazards, and the Save-A-Home program has been assigned the tasks of evaluating and eliminating lead-based paint hazards.
Little Rock's community development needs include: public facilities, such
as senior, youth, neighborhood, child care, and health care centers; and parks
and recreational facilities. Infrastructure improvements are needed for solid
waste disposal, flood drains, water, streets, and sidewalks. A wide range of
additional public services are needed for accessibility improvements and
historic preservation. Economic development needs include commercial-industrial
rehabilitation and business assistance. Planning and code enforcement work is
Little Rock's strategy for the 1995 - 1999 period is extremely broad, encompassing many different activities and programs. A significant segment of the strategy will provide decent housing through new construction and home rehabilitation activities targeted for both renter- and owner-occupied homes.
Various groups and organizations will implement housing programs, including: the city, neighborhood-based Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), and other nonprofit housing developers.
Affordable housing structures exhibiting physical defects are assigned the highest priority. This applies for all renter- and owner-occupied housing in all income classifications.
Cost burdened small renter households with extremely low- and very low-incomes are assigned high priority.
Activities which assist non-homeless persons with special needs are assigned high priority because these persons often encounter greater difficulty in securing and maintaining the limited supply of suitable affordable housing. The HOME program is the main funding resource for persons with special needs.
Homeless families and persons are assigned medium priority because of their relatively low numbers. Also, current resources cannot adequately address all the needs of the homeless. However, homeless persons with special needs are assigned high priority because some limited resources are available to provide these persons with affordable housing assistance.
Housing needs resulting from cost burdens and overcrowding are assigned medium priority. Large family renter households in overcrowded conditions are assigned medium priority, while other households in overcrowded conditions are assigned low priority.
Elderly households in all need classifications are assigned low priority, except for those households containing elderly persons with physical disabilities.
The objectives for geographic distribution of assistance are:
Non-housing community development issues are assigned medium to low priority. In conjunction with investments allocated for housing improvements, the city will continue to provide assistance for street and drainage improvements. The goal is to achieve long-term community revitalization by recovering one small area at a time.
The short-term objective is to implement a minor economic development program in conjunction with a local lender. The proposed funding resources will come from a small CDBG allocation and a Section 108 Loan. The long-term objective is to elaborate upon the initial program by securing funding from other sources, and by expanding both the services offered and the number of persons assisted.
Existing housing and economic development activities are designed to offer maximum assistance to extremely low- and very low-income households. A majority of affordable housing assistance is targeted to areas containing the highest percentages of households living in poverty.
Census Tract 10, which has the highest poverty rate per capita, will receive funding for neighborhood revitalization, including Model Block Efforts, and CDC projects.
Entities responsible for developing and implementing programs to benefit extremely low-, very low-, low- and moderate-income households include government agencies at the Federal, State, and local levels, such as: the Residential Housing Facilities Board, the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Public Works Department, Fighting Back, the Little Rock Police Department, the Little Rock Public School System, Environmental Court, the Little Rock Water Department, the Little Rock Waste Water Utilities, Metroplan, the Arkansas Departments of Health and Human Services, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations will also participate. These organizations include: local Community Development Corporations and Community Housing Development Organizations, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Pulaski Metropolitan Initiative, neighborhood associations, the Donaghey Project, and the Landbank Authority and Housing Partnership.
Other nonprofit service providers will also participate, facilitating those activities designed to benefit homeless persons and persons with special needs. These providers include: the United Way, the Arkansas Enterprise for the Developmentally Disabled, Mainstream Living, the Telephone Company Pioneers, Our House, the Little Rock Community Mental Health Center, Centers for Youth and Families, AIDS Outreach of Arkansas, Our Way, Advocates for Battered Women, Dorcas House, and Volunteers of America of Arkansas.
The CDBG and Housing Division of the Department of Neighborhoods and Planning has the main responsibility for enacting activities and programs in the Consolidated Plan. However, both the CDBG and Housing Division of the Department of Neighborhoods and Planning have established procedures to evaluate work-in-progress, expenditures, and beneficiaries of the programs enumerated in the Consolidated Plan. An operational computerized tracking system exists to assist in monitoring performance.
Duplication of assistance is avoided, and every effort is made to ensure that there are no gaps in the delivery of services. Only through cooperative ventures and coordination of effort can current resources be leveraged to produce maximum results.
An area of service delivery which could be improved is the need for
nonprofit organizations to gain experience in developing affordable housing
projects and designing workable programs that enhance living conditions and
increase economic opportunities for low-income persons. The city's short-term
goal is to provide these organizations with technical assistance which will
increase capacity and experience in planning and completing programs. The
long-term goal is to have numerous experienced service providers who are capable
of implementing community development programs.
Key housing projects planned for the first year of the Consolidated Plan include:
Significant non-housing community development actions planned for the first year include:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.
CDBG Neighborhood Program Division
615 West Markham
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201