The activities described in the plan include continuation of neighborhood redevelopment projects; code enforcement in designated areas; staffing, recreational supplies and training to support recreational programs for youth up to 18 years of age on housing authority sites; technical assistance, loan facilitation and other economic development activities to encourage job creation and employment opportunities for low and moderate income individuals; and creation of a full-time Homeless Task Force Coordinator.
Three public hearings were held, attended by staff and a small number of
citizens, some of whom attended the Public Housing Residents Council meetings on
Columbus, Georgia is located on the Alabama border about 100 miles southwest
of Atlanta. The City had 92,700 households in 1990, up 18% since 1980; household
size has declined. Fort Benning installation has a major impact on the trends
in population and its character. The need for off-post housing which especially
affects housing demand and pushes rents up. Phoenix City Alabama, population
25,312, lies across the Chattahoche River.
The percentage of units lacking complete plumbing is low (0.4%).
Overcrowding is estimated at 8.6 percent.
Estimates of housing needs are expressed in terms of dollars needed to correct problems. For physical defects, figuring rehabilitation cost of $7500 a unit in the City of Columbus: rental properties with small families $42 million; large families $18 million; elderly $20 million and owner-occupied $38 million. For overcrowding, addressing the greatest need, large family rental housing $2.5 million assuming use of the average monthly Section 8 subsidy of $216. Using the Section 8 subsidy to address those small family renters with housing cost burden of over 50% of income, the need would be $6.5 million, and for small families with over 30% burden, $1.4 million.
The vacancy rate of all housing was 4.1%. Average vacancy rate for multifamily rental units was 8 percent in 1987; but 12.6% in South Columbus. Single family vacancy was 2.9%; mobile homes 4.7% .
The terms for housing finance from local banks and mortgage companies were 5-25% down; 15-30 year term; interest ranging from 8.25% for 15 years and 8.5% for 30.
Additional help for first time buyers is needed.
1990 Census identified 258 homeless, but the Metro Homeless Task Force thinks this is low and is searching for funds to conduct a survey. Census reported that there are no shelters for "runaway, neglected or homeless children" nor for abused women. Both categories have shelters in Columbus, with overflow going to Phoenix City; but the Plan acknowledges the need for additional shelters. Several agencies provide rent and energy assistance to people threatened with immediate eviction and utilities work to assist individuals with payment of electric and gas bills.
The Housing Authority currently has 2,117 units of aided housing. Over half are more than 50 years old. All buildings are structurally sound, weather-tight and in good overall repair, They are kept so by an ongoing program of maintenance and modernization, and by addressing security and energy efficiency, with funds from the HUD Comprehensive Grant Program.
42% of households have incomes below $20,000
Lack of job skills for work as construction apprentice. Lack of information on low interest loans available for housing.
Outreach efforts are needed through non-profit housing organizations for those least likely to apply. Services include tenant/landlord counseling.
The Housing Authority and City Health Department have a screening program to identify children with elevated lead blood levels (EBL). From 1015 screenings, only 5 children tested with an EBL greater than 20. While 3 were from public housing, the source of contamination was determined to be outside the housing units. Only 7% of the housing stock is pre-1940. There is need for policies and procedures for continued education, identification and treatment of lead-based hazards. The Plan contains objectives for additional screening, identification of exposure, case management and medical care.
Columbus has some 2,000 HIV infected persons and 282 confirmed AIDS cases. The Health Department has a current caseload of 400 clients, but only 2% are homeless. There is need for integration of social services and housing activities for households below the poverty line.
For parks and recreation facilities, needs include a new coliseum, naval museum, fine arts facility, and sports centers. Continued planning to evaluate and coordinate long-range medical and health facility needs. Construction of new public safety building. New solid waste disposal, flood drainage and water facilities improvements. Infrastructure improvements needed also include substantial street, sidewalk and sewer work. Public service needs include senior, handicapped, youth, transportation, substance abuse services; employment training and crime (drug) awareness in neighborhoods. Also child care and health services. Update the inventory of historic and cultural resources and develop recommendations for treatment.
Economic development needs include commercial-industrial rehabilitation, minority assistance, accessing surplus land from Fort Benning, completing river redevelopment and the Uptown district, monitoring industry's needs.
Numerous task forces, associations and clubs work toward similar goals. The
Consolidated Government of Columbus Georgia enjoys the opportunity for
interaction and membership in these activities. There is not a need for
additional attention in this area.
Continue major urban renewal projects such as Southwest Columbus Redevelopment Area, Medical Center, South Lawyers Lane, Fifth & Sixth, Second Avenue and Beallwood.
Priorities include continued public housing maintenance and improvements, recreation, property rehabilitation and home ownership assistance, continue code enforcement and city-wide spot clearance, providing emergency shelter assistance, and support for new construction of single family detached dwellings.
Continue economic development small disadvantaged business loans and aid to the Development Authority.
Upgrade the work force. Develop financial assistance and incentives for industries, and provide technical assistance for low income individuals for business development.
Urban Development Action Grant funds.
The Housing Authority, established by City Charter, has responsibility for
both urban redevelopment and low income housing, and has the major role in
coordinating the strategic plan.
|South Lawyer's Lane||$308,000|
|Fifth & Sixth||$590,000|
|Facade Easement Loans||$50,000|
|HOME Owner Occupied||$200,000|
|Total Rehabilitation Loans||$1,251,000|
|code enforcement||$ 71,000|
|city-wide spot clearance||$100,000|
|Small Disadvantaged Business Loans||$184,000|
|small business promotion||$200,000|
|Industrial Development Loan/Grant||$500,000|
|public housing recreation||$124,000|
The Economic Development Division of the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Housing Authority of the City of Columbus combined efforts to take the lead in the development of the Consolidated Plan. In addition to the Housing Authority, the Development Authority will administer the Industrial Development Loan/Grant; Uptown Columbus will administer the small business promotion SBA Loan and the Small Disadvantaged Business Loans; the Department of Community and Economic Development administers two commercial rehabilitation loan programs. Community Housing Development Organization will receive $168,000 to assist with HOME activities
Rehabilitation of 120 units for owner occupants and tenants. Also second mortgage loans for the purchase of 50 new homes. In redevelopment areas, purchase of 68 homes and clearance of 65, relocation of 42 tenants and 9 homeowners. Spot clearance of 30 structures city-wide.
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, and proposed HUD funded projects; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).