The City of North Little Rock's Consolidated Plan focuses on programs and projects to reverse the impact of its population decline during the 1980's. An overall spending plan of $1,106,767 ($994,000 of CDBG Entitlment funds and $112,767 from previous year's funding) has been proposed to address the City's outline of housing and community development needs.
North Little Rock made every effort to assure its citizens participation in
the Consolidated Plan process. During the citizen participation process, which
began in August and ended in November of 1994, citizens had requested numerous
projects as reflected in the minutes. However, after the program was developed
and published, no citizen comments were received. Citizens were invited to
participate in both meetings and written comments, along with service providers,
nonprofits, city departments, State and local agencies and elected officials.
Some area participants in the planning process included the Little Rock Housing
Authority, Metroplan, Argenta Community Development Corporation, United Way,
NAACP, various Property Owners Associations, and many others.
The City of North Little Rock experienced an historical change which
impacted its social and demographic conditions during the 1980's. The 1990
Decennial marked the first time in history that the City lost population.
Population decreased by over 2,000 residents, primarily in neighborhoods located
south of Interstate 40, the downtown and central city areas. This decrease
specifically affected the area's housing needs of its residents and the
availability of affordable housing.
The decade of the 1980's was a great change for the City of North Little Rock's affordable housing market. The regional school crisis, "white flight", and a stagnant economy all served to substantially increase the City's affordable housing needs for low to moderate income persons. Since the social and demographic changes have stabilized, the City does not anticipate any significant changes in its low income or supportive housing needs for the next five years.
The City has designated it a high priority to address the housing needs of renters and owners with low to moderate incomes that are overburdened by the cost of housing. Census information shows that 65 percent of the residents with incomes below 30 percent of the median family income are cost overburdened and 47 percent of these extremely low income households are severely cost overburdened. As the degree of housing cost overburden decreases and income levels increase, the need to address housing problems decreases.
The City identified seven population groups with non-homeless special needs. Those groups included the elderly, frail elderly, severe mental illness, developmentally disabled, physically disabled, persons with Alcohol/Other Drug addictions, and persons with AIDS and related diseases. Of these groups, the elderly population is in most need of supportive housing.
At the same time the City experienced population decreases in the 1980's, there was an increase in the rental housing market. At the beginning of the decade, rental occupied units comprised of 34 percent of the total occupied housing market, by 1990, the percent rose to 41 percent. The following factors are attributed to this increase:
Figures indicated that from 1980 to 1990, total housing stock went from 24,914 to 27,255 dwelling units, an increase of 5.2 percent. During that same period, owner-occupied units decreased from 15,123 to 14,712 units, or -2.7 percent; renter-occupied units increased from 9,408 to 10,275 units, or 9.2 percent and vacant units increased from 1,376 to 2,268 units, or 68.4 percent. This period revealed a significant shift from the owner-occupied to renter-occupied housing market.
The decrease in population accelerated neighborhood blight in the older downtown areas and the number of vacant and/or substandard homes increased. As a result, these neighborhoods will more likely be faced with disinvestment, abandonment, and condemnation.
The City concludes that many low and very low income neighborhoods are experiencing decline due to outward migrations, disinvestments, change from owner to renter occupancy, high-crime statistics, and various other factors, for which it is committed to reversing.
The City's affordable housing needs are based on loss population, smaller household sizes; more households headed by single-family parents with lower incomes than married couple households; larger populations of minority and elderly residents with low incomes and greater needs; reduction in the percentage of owner-occupied homes relative to renter- occupied units; and an increase in the number of vacant homes and lots.
Given the City's difficulty in assessing the needs in this area, it contacted other state agencies and local providers, such as the Central Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, Professional Counseling Associates, NAACP, North Little Rock Health Department, for input. While little information has been received, the City proposes in its Five-Year plan to develop and improve network to assess and address the needs of this population group.
A survey completed by United Way in 1988 based the number of homeless persons within the City on a survey completed on Pulaski County. While the survey estimated 850 homeless persons in 1988, the United Way figured a ten percent annual growth rate, making the County's current homeless population at 1,369 persons.
Because North Little Rock is in such close proximity to Little Rock, the capitol city, and a larger metropolitan area, many homeless individuals, with or without special needs, seek housing and housing related services for the City of North Little Rock.
The City of North Little Rock's Public Housing Authority (PHA) has an on-going resident initiative program, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE I Planning grant, counseling classes for tenants, a resident partnership to accept issues raised by tenants, all geared towards family self-sufficiency. The PHA received a "high performer" recognition by the Public Housing Management Assessment Program this past fiscal year.
The City's PHA recently completed a survey to assess its residents on areas that it could better serve them environmentally and socially. Through the monitoring system of the Community Development Agency and PHA, the City is committed to maintaining an adequate housing inventory within the City. The City and the PHA anticipate on improving the management, operations, and environment of the North Little Rock public housing developments.
The City reveals that it has no barriers to affordable housing, because it has:
The City has a long record in assuring that its programs are made available to all citizens, where no person is discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, National origin, religion, sex or familiar status.
The City acknowledges the areas that experienced the most significant degree of change were in its downtown and central city neighborhoods, which are the City's oldest neighborhoods, and subject to possibility of environmental and lead-based paint concerns.
The City consulted with the Department of Health, which provided that of the 30 children tested for blood lead levels, 10 children were found to have lead in their blood. The City currently has an asbestos assessment requirement for multifamily and commercial structures.
While limited information is available in this area, the City expects the number of housing built prior to 1979 are contaminated with lead hazards. To curtail their expectations, the City has included in their Consolidated Plan a Lead-Based Paint and Asbestos Assessment Plan. The City is also working on a state-wide effort to receive a grant to assist in the analysis of lead-based paint and its contributions to elevated blood lead levels and elimination of lead hazards.
The City is making strides in coordinating its services to its citizens.
There are daily efforts made by the Planning, Community Development, Commerce,
Community Relations, Public Works, and Engineering Departments to meet the needs
of its citizens. Several other State and local agencies are also being targeted
within the City's coordination efforts to implement to meet the needs of its
The City estimates that, in the long run, increased homebuyer assistance would have the greatest impact on deteriorating neighborhoods because owner occupants would be more stable (i.e. less likely to move) and have a greater incentive to maintain their properties.
In an effort to stabilize deteriorating neighborhoods, the City has decided to make a substantial commitment to providing homebuyer and homeowner rehabilitation assistance for low to moderate income households, especially those willing to purchase homes in the older, declining neighborhoods.
The City's Five-Year and One-Year Plans focuses on delivering affordable housing to areas of the city containing individuals who are at the greatest risk of suffering from lack of housing support. Those individuals and families whose incomes are below the poverty level will benefit the most from their proposed programs , which are designed to economically supplement and benefit those persons either directly through financial support or through programs which improve citizens living conditions and the overall environment.
The City of North Little Rock has developed a comprehensive list of sources it feels will be reasonably available during the next fiscal year to implement its housing and community development objectives. Among those noted were: various HUD programs, Gateway Education Grant, Public Housing Modification Funds, Union Rescue Mission Transient Lodge, Community Development Corporations, and the Local Initiative Support Corporation.
The City of North Little Rock plans to continue its coordination efforts between other entities receiving HUD funds, private and nonprofit organizations and Metroplan. The City acknowledges that close coordination and interaction among City departments, nonprofit and for-profit organizations in the community is necessary to successfully implement their five year strategy and contends that information shared by these entities will provide them with a means to improve its housing related programs from year to year.
In addition to tracking conditions of the City's housing stock, it's
Community Development Agency will have the lead role in coordinating all
housing-related activities and programs, as well as monitoring implementation of
the Consolidated Plan.
The City of North Little Rock anticipates using $994,000 in CDBG funds with an additional $112,767 in reprogrammed funds from prior year CDBG allocations, for a total of $1,106,767 to implement its housing and community development objectives.
The City's plan focuses on those areas which suffered from the greatest degree of population decline during the 1980's. These areas are primarily south of Interstate 40, the downtown and central city areas. These neighborhoods also suffer from a number of old housing structures, which led to other concerns, including environmental and lead-based paint hazards.
North Little Rock's Community Development Agency has the lead role in all housing-related planning by virtue of its responsibility for coordinating and developing the Consolidated Plan. The CDA also has responsibility for administering the City's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.
The City is committed to its primary objective of serving those cost overburdened persons to assure their needs are met and any threat of homelessness is removed, thus helping them from becoming homeless.
The City further plans to:
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 unemployment levels for the jurisdiction.
TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).