October 27, 2004
HUD AWARDS $6.75 MILLION IN GRANTS TO CITY OF PORTLAND
Funding Creates Elderly Housing, Computer Center at New Columbia Community
PORTLAND, OR -The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented $6.75 million in grants in the city of Portland today.
The non-profit Northwest Housing Alternative, Inc. will receive $6.5 million funds to construct 61 one-bedroom units for very low-income elderly persons and a two-bedroom unit for a resident manager and 5 years of rent subsidy. The housing will be located in the heart of the New Columbia community, an 80-acre mixed-income community being developed using HUD and private and local government funds.
The Housing Authority of Portland will receive $249,976 to create a new Neighborhood Networks computer-learning center that will also be part of the New Columbia community.
"President Bush is committed to families - whether they be elderly families or public housing families who need computer technology to improve their lives," said HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu who presented the grants today at New Columbia.
Section 202 Grants (funding to assist very low-income elderly)
In addition to funding the construction and rehabilitation of projects to create apartments, Section 202 grants will subsidize rents for five years so that residents will pay only 30 percent of their adjusted incomes as rent.
To be eligible for the assistance a household must be classified as "very low- income," which means an income less than 50 percent of the area median. Nationally, based on 50 percent of the national median family income with an applicable adjustment for household size, a one-person household would need to have an income equal to or less than $20,125 a year.
HUD provides two forms of Section 202 funds to non-profit groups:
- Capital advances. This money covers the cost of developing the housing. It does not need to be repaid if the housing is available for occupancy by very low-income seniors for at least 40 years.
- Project rental assistance. This money covers the difference between the resident's contribution toward rent and the cost of operating the project.
Neighborhood Network Grants
Neighborhood Networks (NN) grants help communities create or enhance computer centers. These centers make it easier for residents to obtain information on jobs, educational opportunities, as well as information on healthcare, nutrition and other social services, while gaining valuable computer skills. The funding is used to construct the computer centers; buy computer and information technology hardware; hire staff; and develop programs and systems that will assists residents with employment, educational and life-skills activities.
The NN center at New Columbia, which is slated for completion in 2006, will be available to more than 1,300 New Columbia residents and neighbors in the surrounding North Portland community.
"Today computer knowledge is essential," said Liu, who presented this grant to Portland housing authority Executive Director Steve Rudman. "When our public housing communities bring computer technology to neighborhoods it opens countless opportunities for residents in the new development and the surrounding community."
"We're extremely pleased that HUD is making an additional investment in an aspect of the project that will help New Columbia and surrounding neighbors increase their computer capabilities," said Kandis Brewer Nunn, chair of the Housing Authority of Portland's Board of Commissioners. "This computer learning center, with the aid of our partner Portland Community College, will be a cornerstone of our main street services and will be a wonderful magnet for drawing people of the community together."
Later in the day, Liu addressed the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians at the Trading at the River Conference being held over the next two days. Liu discussed two new HUD actions that support Native American homeownership opportunities. HUD recently expanded the Section 184 program, HUD's guaranteed loan initiative, to include Indians beyond reservations. HUD has also formed a partnership with Agriculture (Rural Development) and Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to combine resources to improve housing conditions in Indian Country.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.
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