Florida gets $200 million from HUD for neighborhood stabilization
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09/09/10 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

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Yesterday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it’s putting an additional $1 billion toward its Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The program aims to protect property values in foreclosure-ridden areas. The Tampa Bay Area will get a sizable chunk of it.

Despite the muggy morning heat, officials gathered today in the grassy back yard of a foreclosed East Tampa home. The property is the future site of an apartment complex for 18 female military veterans and their families. More than $3.7 million in HUD money from the first two rounds of Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars are funding the project, which broke ground today. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said in addition to creating jobs, the program will enhance quality of life in the city’s economically depressed areas.

The City of Tampa is partnering with the nonprofit Tampa Crossroads for the project. Sara Romeo is that organization’s CEO.

Florida expects to receive $208.4 million from the latest billion dollar pot. That’s the biggest chunk of any state. The Tampa Bay area will get nearly $30 million of that. Hillsborough County will get $8.1 million, Pasco will get $5.2 million, Pinellas is set to receive $4.7 million, and Hernando is slated for nearly $2 million. The cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater will also see HUD money from the latest round of Neighborhood Stabilization funds. The dollars come from the Wall Street Reform Act, which passed June 30, and are calculated using a HUD economic hardship formula.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor says it will help reverse the impacts of predatory lending and other factors that led to the recession.

The first round of NSP dollars was authorized in 2009, but projects using that money have reportedly been slow-going. Castor said that was due to early snags that have since been ironed out.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program primarily gives state and local governments funds to purchase and redevelop residential properties that have been foreclosed or abandoned. HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims said the scope of the project is wide.

One criticism of the program is that there is too much emphasis on demolishing and rebuilding on foreclosed properties, and not enough on keeping at-risk families in their homes. WMNF asked Rep. Castor what kind of money was going toward foreclosure prevention in the latest round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Local governments received tens of millions of dollars from the first two rounds of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The city of Tampa and its nonprofit partners have already purchased dozens of properties under the program. Those interested in buying or renting one of these must meet certain income requirements. The East Tampa site that broke ground today has an expected completion of in the summer of 2011.

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