BOC briefed on 2012 housing plan

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett commissioners were briefed Tuesday on a recommendation for how to use federal housing dollars next year.

The annual application for Community Development Block Grants and other assistance is due to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in November. The grants fund property acquisition and rehabilitation, home ownership assistance and infrastructure improvements.

The CDBG grants reached a high of about $6 million in 2010 but are projected to fall below $3 million for 2012. That's about 60 percent of what the county received this year, grants manager Tanikia Jackson told commissioners.

Gwinnett County government, cities and nonprofit organizations proposed projects for 2012 that total more than $12 million, but the county only expects to be able to grant about $2.2. million, Jackson said.

"That's the worst I've seen it be in terms of what was required and what was funded," Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash said.

Staff recommendations would allocate just less than $2 million to construct a kitchen in the new Gwinnett Senior Services Center, $123,000 to the Gwinnett Children's Shelter, $66,000 to the Hi Hope Service Center and $47,000 to Gwinnett Community Services.

A public hearing and comment phase for the plan will begin next month, and commissioners are expected to approve the final application in October.

HOME program grants, designed to create affordable low-income housing, would provide $504,000 for down payment assistance, $144,000 for the Community Housing Development Organization and $72,000 for administration.

Emergency Shelter Grants would be shared by local nonprofits like Norcross Cooperative Ministry, Partnership for Domestic Violence, Center for Pan Asian Services and the Salvation Army.