Lacoochee Envisions a Future

[Photo 1: Federal partners session in Lacoochee, Florida, seated and discussing the next step]
Despite the word "urban" in our agency's name, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's work has broad reach across almost every neighborhood in our country - including those in rural America. A federal partners session in Lacoochee, Florida, discusses the next step in the recovery of this low income community.
[Photo 2: Dilapidated housing]
Dilapidated housing and concentrated poverty have been the recent trademarks of Lacoochee, Florida

Lacoochee is a small rural community in Pasco County. After its good mill days were gone, the town has suffered from concentrated poverty, dilapidated housing and in many areas it has resembled a poor community from a century ago. Hope, however, is coming back. With federal funding and renewed congressional and local support, Lacoochee saw last week the dedication of two homes from Habitat for Humanity. The new pleased homeowners spent more than 400 hours in sweat equity to help build their homes and the neighbors.

During a tour of the area sponsored by the office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson on August 23, the 50+ attendees, including several federal partners, witnessed what progress is being made and what is still pending. HUD's Deputy Regional Administrator, Karen Jackson Sims, reminded the participants of how HUD's funding in the area is being applied in several areas to help the comeback.

A portion of HUD funds allocated to Pasco County for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) have been used in Lacoochee to assist Habitat for Humanity in the purchase of 18 lots at a cost of $156,424. Approximately $925,000 in NSP and Home Investment Partnership Program funds will be used in the construction of houses for this low income community. Pasco County has committed $300,000 of its HUD Community Development Block Grant allocation toward the cost of building a Community Center in Lacoochee. Also, $3 million in cost savings from a previous HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee for the Tommytown area of Pasco County is planned to be redirected to help Lacoochee improve the quality of life of its residents with new water infrastructure and sewer lines.

Learn about Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) on HUD's website.



[Photo 3: New Habitat Home with crowd looking on]
Habitat for Humanity, with a portion of HUD funding, is bringing new quality of life to the families of Lacoochee, Florida
[Photo 4: Bill Nelson and Karen Jackson Sims speaking at door at the dedication of a new home]
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (FL) and HUD's Deputy Regional Administrator, Karen Jackson Sims at the dedication of a new home in Lacoochee, Florida


Content Archived: January 6, 2014