City reassigns federal money

Amber Aldaco By Amber Aldaco

May 16, 2017 at 9:45 p.m.
Updated May 17, 2017 at midnight

Victoria City Hall is located at 105 W. Juan Linn Street in downtown Victoria.

Victoria City Hall is located at 105 W. Juan Linn Street in downtown Victoria.   CAROLINA ASTRAIN/CASTRAIN@VICAD. for The Victoria Advocate

The Victoria City Council voted Tuesday to reassign federal money from three activities, including Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity, and redistribute the funds to three other programs.

A resolution called for an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant, which is money that comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program provides annual grants to cities and counties for affordable housing and the development of public amenities.

While the city is required to have a 5-year plan, it is also required to adopt a 1-year action plan for each fiscal year.

The city had to amend its 5-year plan to remove three block grant activities that totals $241,000. Of that money $56,000 would have gone to Habitat for Humanity, $160,000 for code enforcement and $25,000 to neighborhood cleanups.

Koinonia, the subdivision where Habitat for Humanity is constructing homes, is off Arroyo Drive and is not within a CDBG-eligible location, said Assistant City Manager John Kaminski.

The city also does not anticipate Habitat for Humanity to have any lots in an eligible area for the remainder of the 5-year plan for the city to help with construction, he said.

The resolution allocates $35,530 of the shifted funs to the Mortage Assistance Program, which helps eligible first-time home buyers in the city.

Habitat for Humanity's executive director Cynthia Staley, who was not present at Tuesday's meeting, said she understands the reallocation of funds because Koinonia is not in an qualifying area for block grant funds. Koinonia will have 20 homes when completed in about three years, she said.

Staley said Habitat for Humanity will have to look elsewhere to make up for the funds the organization will not receive, but she said she is not worried.

"Our community has been extremely generous through the years. The community recognizes what Habitat (for Humanity) does is viable to the community," Staley said. "The Lord will provide."

In addition to donations, Habitat for Humanity will more than likely apply for other grants, she said. Staley also said the city has been a great partner to Habitat for Humanity and will continue to look for other partnership opportunities.

Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity has built more than 100 homes in the Victoria area.

The remainder of the reallocated funds - $205,470 - will be transferred to demolition and public projects such as park improvements, a sidewalk project and a street light project.



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