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City awarded $7.3 million to combat housing/foreclosure crisis

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that the recently passed Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 will provide the City of Kansas City, Mo., with $7,323,734 in funding to help stabilize neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures and sub-prime mortgages. The state of Missouri will receive $42,664,187, and the City will have the opportunity to access a portion of that money for the same purpose.

"This influx of federal money will help us target those neighborhoods especially hard hit by the recent housing crisis by fixing or demolishing blighted property and providing assistance to low- to moderate-income homebuyers,” City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen said. “It will not solve every problem in our urban core, but will bring relief to people who have suffered the most."

Housing and Urban Development Department guidelines allow state and local governments to acquire land and property; to demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties; to offer down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income homebuyers; and to create land banks to assemble, manage and dispose of vacant land for the purpose of stabilizing neighborhoods and encouraging private investment and re-use of that property.

"The Housing Committee and City staff have been working diligently to make sure a process was in place to efficiently and effectively use these funds to best serve those in need once they became available,” said City Councilwoman Cindy Circo, 5th District at large, and chairwoman of the Housing Committee. “Our congressional delegation did a great job helping to secure these funds and will continue to be an asset in working with the state for additional funding.”

The funds are expected to be available in the next 30-90 days, and jurisdictions will then have 18 months to use the funds.

Media inquiries should be directed to Shirley Winn, housing administrator for the City Planning and Development Department, (816) 513-2907.

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