|Region VI: 11-133
Patricia Campbell (817) 978-5974
Scott Hudman (713) 718-3107
August 23, 2011
HUD AWARDS $2 MILLION TO PROMOTE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN HELENA-WEST HELENA
Rural Innovation Grants will create jobs, build housing and stimulate economy
LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a $1,998,621 grant to the Southern Bancorp Capital Partners of Arkansas. The grant is part of a national effort to address distressed housing conditions and concentrated poverty. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the grants from HUD's new Rural
Innovation Fund promote an 'entrepreneurial approach' to affordable housing and economic development in rural
areas. Overall, $28 million was awarded to 46 rural and tribal communities throughout the nation.
"Rural America is vast and diverse, and different communities face different challenges and opportunities," said Secretary Donovan. "Because there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to strengthening rural communities, this funding provides flexible resources to address either housing or economic development needs, or both. This is especially important for communities that may have more limited access to resources because of their distant locations. These are catalytic projects that will have an impact on their communities for generations to come."
The Southern Bancorp Capital Partners (SBCP) in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, will use its $1,998,621 Rural Innovation Fund Comprehensive grant for an economic development and housing program that will support existing business and entrepreneurs and provide supportive services and incentives to homeowners. Activities include: a new downtown Helena-West Helena mixed-use retail and housing development; a loan loss reserve and business loan fund; employer incentives for job creation; a small business incubator; an innovative business plan award competition; individual development accounts; housing counseling and financial education; and housing assistance stipends for low-income families and those in critical professions. The program will create 14 new businesses, 98 new jobs, and help 155 homeowners purchase or repair their homes. Partners include Southern Bancorp, Southern Good Faith Fund; Phillips Community College-University of Arkansas, Small Business Incubator; the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce; Helena-West Helena Advertising and Promotions Commission; and Main Street Helena. Leveraging for this project is $2,700,000. Contact: Tanya Wright, (510) 372-4201, x30 or 33.
HUD's new Rural Innovation Fund offers grants of up to $2 million to support innovative housing and economic development activities. Eligible applicants were federally recognized Indian tribes, state housing finance agencies (HFAs), state community development agencies, local rural non-profit organizations, community development corporations, or consortia of these groups. Grantees can use their grant funding to support a variety of housing and economic development activities including construction, preparation of plans, land acquisition, demolition, homeownership counseling, and financial assistance.
HUD awarded Rural Innovation Fund grants in three categories nationwide:
- Comprehensive Grants - 7 Comprehensive grants nationwide, (the SBCP grant falls in this category) in which grantees have examined the social, housing and economic needs and resources of their target areas and made proposals that address these needs through activities that will have sustained benefit and resources after HUD assistance is used. The maximum grant amount was $2,000,000 for this category.
- Single Purpose Grants - 32 Single Purpose grants nationwide, for more targeted initiatives, which typically focus primarily on either housing or economic development.
- Economic Development and Entrepreneurship for Federally Recognized Tribes - 8 Indian Economic Development and Entrepreneurship grants nationwide, awarded from $5 million set aside for applications for federally recognized Indian tribes
Highlights of the Awards include:
- 19 states are represented among the service areas, including Arkansas.
- 27 awardees (58%) are tribes or tribal affiliates. Tribal organizations were competitive in all categories under the NOFA and were recommended to receive 53% of total funding.
- 789 housing units are proposed for low income beneficiaries nationwide.
- 655 total jobs will be created through activities assisted by the grants nationwide. Jobs include 187 construction jobs and 460 permanent jobs nationwide.
- Grantees propose leveraging more than $18 million in other funds for their respective projects.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.