Tampa Housing Authority has contracted nearly all of its stimulus funding
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09/04/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

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The Tampa Housing Authority has committed 92% of the stimulus funds it has been granted. The housing authority and Kathy Castor, who represents much of the city in Congress, made the announcement this morning before taking a bus tour of several projects where the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being spent.

At Stetson University’s College of Law campus in Tampa Friday morning, Castor said that the jobs created by the Recovery Act housing funds are helping local citizens and the hard-hit construction industry.

The Tampa Housing Authority is applying for additional funds through the competitive process of Recovery Act grants. Castor is optimistic that Tampa will receive more money because “the Tampa Housing Authority has been a wonderful steward of the dollars so far.”

Encore is the name of the proposed redevelopment at the site of the demolished Central Park Village between downtown and Ybor City. It is projected to be a partnership between the Bank of America and the housing authority that would include mixed-use development from public housing to expensive condos.

Castor stresses that “Encore fits the intent of the Recovery Act.” Karen Jackson Sims is the field director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.

Jackson Sims says that there is a requirement in the Recovery Act that contractors for the local housing authorities must make employment available to residents of low-income neighborhoods near where the work is occurring and to residents of public housing. Chances are good, Jackson Sims says, of Tampa receiving federal funds for the Encore project.

Jackson Sims says her superiors at HUD are demanding that communities like Tampa “think big – they want big results and big challenges,” and she feels that expanding the scope of the Encore project would be seen favorably by HUD.

Jerome Ryans is president and CEO of the Tampa Housing Authority. “[Recovery Act funding] allows us to do a lot more than we’ve been able to do over the last several years.”

Ryans says the Tampa Housing Authority is using the Recovery Act funds to improve about 2800 housing units.

Tampa Housing Authority

US HUD

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Thank heaven for tampa housing authority and Mr. Ryans you have brought much needed leadership to this community in the housing area.