Arkansas can be divided culturally, socially, economically and racially into two distinctive geographic and geological areas. The uplands lay generally north and west of a line drawn diagonally across the state from the northeast to southwest corners. Today, much of the uplands is thriving economically. However, the lowlands which lay south and east is depressed. Pulaski, Saline, Lonoke and Faulkner Counties in Central Arkansas make up the Little Rock - North Little Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area and it's economy is strong overall.
The State of Arkansas Consolidated Plan presents a "comprehensive model projects" approach to encourage local communities to plan and develop housing, community and economic development projects in a holistic and well coordinated fashion. FY 1995 funds used to meet this goal are from sources such as the Community Development Block Grant Program; HOME Program; Emergency Shelter Grants Program; Rural Multifamily Program; Rural Self-Help Program; HUD Technical Assistance Grants Program; Mortgage Revenue Bond Program and Community Development Resources.
The State of Arkansas has an "Arkansas Housing and Community Development Committee' which includes representatives of organizations interested in housing, community development, economic developments, the homeless and neighborhood neutralization. This committee not only assisted in the development of the Consolidated Plan but will be expanded and will serve as an ongoing mechanism for citizen involvement and participation.
Citizen meetings were, and will continue to be, publicized in newspapers with statewide distribution and press releases sent to other media outlets. Notices were mailed to public officials, housing authorities, emergency shelter operations, community action agencies, other nonprofit groups, and service providers and committee members communicating directly to their clientele.
Sixteen public meetings were held in eight regional areas to gather citizen input. To accommodate as many persons as possible, an afternoon and an evening meeting were held in each regional location. In addition, two statewide public meetings were held in Central Arkansas. The regional meetings were attended by more than 400 persons. The public meetings/hearings netted an attendance of more than 325. Other opportunities for citizen input included written comments on the proposed Consolidated Plan and the citizen participation process.
According to the 1990 Census, Arkansas population grew by 2.80% from 2,286,435 in 1980 to 2,350,725. Population changes in Arkansas center around a diagonal line from the northeast to the southwest corners of the State. Generally north and west of the line, population growth has occurred while to the south and east population has declined. Population in nonmetropolitan counties declined by almost 10% and population in Metropolitan Counties grew by almost 8% with Community Development Block Grant cities leading nonentitled cities.
Low income families in Arkansas comprise 42.96% of the total households. Single women headed households make-up 15% of the total households and single men-headed households and married couple-headed households represent 3.88% and 81%, respectively, of Arkansas households. African Americans represent 13.56% of the households. Smaller households are 11.60% of the total households numbering 891,665 according to the 1990 census. Of the 3,457 homeless individuals, 29.0% were African Americans and 39.2% females.
Development, construction and rehabilitation costs at market rates exceed the financial capacity of a large proportion of Arkansas families. The median family income in Arkansas is about 30% lower than the national median family income and this income is used to meet necessities other than housing.
Half of the State's 75 counties are losing population. Their economic and tax bases are weakening; job growth, salaries and wages are constrained. There are increased demands in these counties for major infrastructure improvements. Much of the job growth in these counties are in entry level, part-time or temporary positions and are not stable or secure enough to support long-range housing choices.
Federal programs are the only significant financial resources for affordable housing production and housing assistance activities. There are few State and local resources allocated for development of affordable housing in Arkansas.
The Consolidated Plan for the State of Arkansas focuses on state policies and programs for decreasing housing costs (affordable housing) and improving housing conditions (rehabilitation). To address decreasing costs, state and local agencies serving low income population concentrations should examine public programs that can relieve pressures on personal incomes. Homeownership counseling is another approach to addressing affordable housing needs. Rehabilitation grants and loans, weatherization grants and lead-based paint hazard reduction grants are some resources to improve housing conditions. Homeless needs include emergency facilities and transitional housing with services.
Of Arkansas' Low Income Households, 48.9% are African American. There are 119,782 homeowners in Arkansas with low incomes and 58.5% of these homeowners are elderly and 67.78% have housing problems. Of the 109,079 renters, elderly comprise 30.6% and 55.9% live in housing units with maintenance/rehabilitation problems. It is also significant that of the total number of renter households, those with 2 to 4 people have the greatest cost burden.
Inexpensive, poorly constructed, low density, single family detached, owner-occupied housing was the result of rural, small town economics of expensive and indigenous materials. Lack of skilled labor and local development and construction codes and standards also lead to poorly constructed single family housing. Subdivision housing and development of suburban communities began in the 1960s and 1970s when 46% of Arkansas' housing was constructed. Another 52% were constructed from 1970 to 1990.
Owner occupancy rate of the 619,938 units is 70% and rental occupancy rate for 271,241 units is 30% statewide. Owner and rental vacancy rates statewide are, respectively, 2.44% and 11.62%.
Most of the owner housing in Arkansas is valued at less than $50,000.00 and 90% is valued at less than $99,000.00. A majority or 57% of rental housing has a monthly rent of less than $250.00.
Arkansas has 60,184 units federally subsidized. However, an estimated 31,728 clients of nonprofit organizations lack standard supported housing.
There are approximately 117 homeless shelters in Arkansas with a total of 2,812 beds. However, it is estimated there are 7,400 Arkansas homeless on a given night.
Extremely low income homeowners defer maintenance on their homes, using income for necessities, such as food, medicine and transportation. There is a need for subsidized loans for homeowner rehabilitation which will increase the housing stock and preserve housing.
Rental rehabilitation programs provide owners of low rental housing a means of financing improvements and repairs so that rental housing meets minimum property standards.
Existing housing stock does not accommodate the low income population. There is a need for new construction of single family and multifamily units. New construction would provide low income families a home and an opportunity to work and prosper.
Moderate income households need homebuyers assistance programs such as HOME Downpayment and Closing Cost Assistance Program, lower interest rates and the affordable purchase prices.
Many extremely low income households can occupy standard housing in Arkansas through tenant based rental assistance payments. Rental Assistance is not a permanent solution, but the housing stock remains available at affordable prices.
There are approximately 117 homeless shelters in Arkansas with a total of 2,812 beds. It is estimated there are 7,400 Arkansans homeless on any given night. Outreach programs are needed to identify the homeless and the near homeless. Adequate assessment is necessary to ensure that homeless families and individuals receive appropriate services. Expanding emergency shelter services for individuals, families and persons with special needs is a high priority need. Two shelters were funded in 1993 and eight in 1994. There is a need for transitional housing. Arkansas has only three such units. Arkansas also needs to expand its "lease purchase" program; escrow a portion of tenants rent for down payment and its affordable housing stock if the homeless and near homeless are to move into permanent housing.
Arkansas has a total of 60,184 federally subsidized rental housing units. Analyses of subsidized rental housing data indicates there is approximately one unit of subsidized rental housing in Arkansas to every four very low income households. The State's ratio of very low income households to subsidized rental housing is less than 25% or more in 26 of Arkansas' 75 counties.
It is estimated that the 303 nonprofit organizations (approximately 15% of the State's nonprofits) that provided support to persons with disabilities and the elderly have 31,728 clients lacking standard, affordable housing.
Impediments for addressing affordable housing problems and conditions in the State of Arkansas include:
The Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 did not include a Fair Housing Section. The 1995 Arkansas Legislature passed legislation which recognizes the right to obtain housing and financial assistance without discrimination. The Arkansas Fair Housing Act is Act 1327 and was signed by Governor Jim Guy Tucker on April 14, 1995.
The number of housing units that have lead-based paint and are occupied by very low and other low income residents is not available. Age of housing and incidence of elevated blood lead levels in children are two indicators of the extent of housing with lead based paint hazards and the extent to which low income families are affected.
Production of lead-based paint for residential use was discontinued in 1978. Lead-based paint hazards should be minimal in housing built after 1978. Data on number of units by year of construction indicates that 75% of Arkansas' housing was constructed prior to 1980 and these units are in the age range most likely affected by lead-based paint.
Arkansas' community development needs can be categorized into five areas: public facilities; infrastructure improvements; public service needs; economic development needs; and other community development needs.
* Public Facilities (High to Medium to Low Needs)
High Senior Centers; Youth Centers; Child Care Centers; Health Facilities Medium Neighborhood Facilities; Parking Facilities; Other Public Facilities
Low Parks and Recreation Facilities
* Public Service Needs (High to Medium to Low Needs)
High Employment Training Medium Youth Services; Transportation Services; Substance Abuse Services; Crime Awareness; Fair Housing Counseling; Tenant/Landlord Counseling; Child Care Services; Health Services; Other Public Service Needs; Accessibility Needs Low Senior Services; Handicapped Services; Residential Historic Preservation Needs; Non-Residential Historic Preservation Needs
* Economic Development Needs (High to Medium to Low Needs)
High Commercial-Industrial Rehabilitation; Commercial- Industrial Infrastructure; Other Commercial-Industrial Improvement; Technical Assistance
Medium Micro-Business; Other Businesses; Other Economic Development Needs
* Other Community Development Needs (High to Medium to Low Needs)
High Lead-Based Paint Hazards
Medium Code Enforcement; Planning
The Consolidated Plan was developed by the following four State Agencies: Arkansas Development Finance Authority; Arkansas Industrial Development Commission; Arkansas Department of Human Services; and Arkansas Department of Health.
The Consolidated Plan is directly and specifically concerned with how the State will allocate and use resources from the HOME Program, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Emergency Shelters Grant Program. Each of these programs are administered separately by different State agencies, each with different policies and priorities, definitions and procedures for obtaining program results.
The Consolidated Plan began the process of reconciling State agency differences in program policies, priorities and procedures for each of the HUD funded programs. In addition, the Arkansas Housing and Community Development Committee has been expanded to serve as an ongoing mechanism for citizen involvement and participation.
Six overall goals were established for the State of Arkansas by the Consolidated Plan process.
First, methods of allocating housing, community and economic development resources will be examined. Where appropriate within program regulations and guidelines, higher rating for funding applications from counties with low income and racial concentrations will be given.
Second, through its technical assistance and housing programs, the State will encourage public and private organizations in counties with less than 25% of the State average of subsidized rental housing per very low income households to make efforts to develop more affordable rental resources.
Third, HOME Program funds will be made available for housing activity types at the percentages of:
Fifth, to provide for sound and safe communities by offering activities for homeowner rehabilitation, homebuyers assistance and homeowner counseling.
Sixth, high priorities were assigned to providing services to small related families as they comprise the larger portion of the population with housing problems.
Estimated dollars needed to address all priority needs are $6.14 billion over a five year period.
Priorities for affordable housing include increasing the supply of affordable housing; reducing overall costs; reducing affordable housing development costs; increasing financing available; and addressing attitudes resistance to affordable housing.
Goals for addressing homelessness include helping low income families avoid becoming homeless; reaching out to homeless persons and assessing their individual needs; addressing the emergency shelter and transitional housing needs of homeless persons; and helping homeless persons make the transition to permanent housing and independent living.
The priorities for special needs persons include expanding the supply of supportive housing for persons with disabilities; expanding, improving and enhancing supportive housing, training and employment programs and services for persons with disabilities; and addressing community level resistance to persons with disabilities.
Long-term community development objectives include improving employment opportunities; improving availability and adequacy of infrastructure and public facilities; improving quality of life in communities and neighborhoods; and increasing development partnerships.
Short-term development objectives include developing new partnerships among Federal, State agencies, regional intermediaries, planning and development organizations and nonprofit consortia and organizations; consolidating application and joint review process; publicizing and funding pilot projects annually from 1996 - 2000; increasing technical assistance and community development capacity building avenues at local level; and directing program funds that address expressed needs.
The State's antipoverty strategy is twofold. First, highest priorities are given to programs and services that seek to develop people and communities so they can provide for themselves. Second, the State administers Federally funded income maintenance and medical programs aimed at addressing basic human needs.
The State will coordinate its efforts through the Arkansas Housing and Community Development Committee, the Interagency Council for the Homeless, The Governor's Task Force on Supported Housing and the Arkansas Low Income Housing Coalition.
The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC) anticipates receiving $25,070,000 in FY95 CDBG funds to assist applicants requesting funding for eligible community development projects. In addition, the program income estimated is $1,000,000.
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority expects a FY95 allocation of HOME funds in the amount of $9,677,000.
Office of Community Services within the Department of Human Services (DHS) anticipates an allocation of $1,159,000 in Emergency Shelter Grants funds.
Rural Economic Community Development Services' (RECDS') Section 515 program will receive only $3,163,000 in FY95. RECDS' also funds a rural self-help program. Six grantees were funded from mid-1993 to mid-1995 and the total grant amount was $1,539,770.
HUD Technical Assistance Grants has been approved for five Arkansas grantees in the sum of $319,680. The purpose of these funds is to assist community housing development organizations and other community planning and development organizations for HOME Programs administered.
Other resources include:
Governor Jim Guy Tucker designated the Arkansas Development Finance Authority as the lead agency in the development of the State of Arkansas' Consolidated Plan.
CDBG funds will be distributed in Arkansas as follows: State Administration, 2%; Technical Assistance, 1%; Economic Development Set-Asides, 28%; Model Demonstration Projects, 3%; Water/Wastewater, 48%; Child Care Facilities, 3%; Public health Facilities, 6%; Senior Citizen Centers, 5%; and Other Categorical Programs, 4%.
Low Income Housing Tax Credits will provide funds for approximately 1,713 multifamily, low rent units and 5,143 constructions jobs created and 1,222 jobs retained.
Mortgage Revenue Bond Program will provide financing for approximately 2,446 units with 2,530 jobs created and 510 retained.
Approximately 144 homes will have lead-based paint controlled or abated by Department of Human Services funding in early 1995.