Community Development Block Grant|
North Little Rock - Mayor Patrick Henry Hays
With the help of its CDBG program, North Little Rock has taken a multi-faceted approach to the problems posed by a declining population and the deterioration of older neighborhoods - problems due in large part to the proliferation of rental properties and the growth of crime.
The City's Homeownership Program, started in 1998, has been providing down payment assistance to help low-income residents purchase and occupy standard housing; its grants pay half of their down payment and closing costs up to $2,500. In addition, the City has formed three Community Development Corporations to promote homeownership and neighborhood revitalization. One of these, Argenta CDC, has made it possible for 38 dilapidated houses to be purchased and occupied by low-income residents through HUD's HOME program. Because of the poor condition of the properties involved, the Program contains a CDBG-funded component to help rehabilitate them.
While HUD regulations call for the City to provide 15 percent of the funding for the CDCs, North Little Rock, in an effort to ensure their success, has actually supplied 50 percent of the funding - in addition to a significant amount of City staff time.
The North Little Rock Housing Authority's Family Self-Sufficiency Program - providing services which help residents transition from welfare - is an important source of potential home buyers for the CDCs. The City is an active partner with the Housing Authority in its Welfare-to-Work Center, having provided $100,000 for renovations to the Center. Programs offered there assist low-income persons in finding both jobs and housing; they include day care, job training and home buyer training.
Supporting the Homeownership Program is a neighborhood safety initiative that combines policing and code enforcement. Building on a long-established and successful Community Oriented Policing program in its housing projects, the City installed neighborhood-based COP sub-stations and increased police code enforcement patrols. It also introduced a program through which police officers, with the help of a $50,000 subsidy and low-interest-rate loans, could purchase houses and live in designated high-crime areas, creating a continuous police presence in these areas.
Contact: Charley Baxter, Executive Director, North Little Rock Housing Authority, (501) 758-8911