HUD Provides Needed Housing Assistance for North St. Louis

August 20, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

The-Ville-North-St.-Louis-and-Elsewhere-086Finally, some good news for a city and county in need of it. Reeling from the continued rioting in nearby Ferguson and the seemingly daily news coverage of racial tensions there, St. Louis and St. Louis County needed federal assistance in another critical area — storm damage to local housing.

On Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated more than $26 million from the Community Development Block Grant Program to the county. More specifically, it received $24 million under the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program to establish a loan pool for community development projects, and another $2.4 million in Declared Disaster Recovery Funds was awarded to the North County area of St. Louis County to help communities impacted by tornadoes and severe storms in 2013.

“We believe in this area, its people and its future,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said. “This is flexible funding that will be used to improve housing, support entrepreneurship, increase transit options and strengthen communities in St. Louis County.” Local officials said the funds can help it better address poverty and disparity.

The Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program will help St. Louis County fund transit-oriented development; mixed-use commercial, retail and multi-family rental development; business development loans; and public infrastructure and facilities, including collaborative projects that cross municipal borders.

The Section 108 loan guarantee program allows local governments to transform a small portion of their CDBG funds into federally guaranteed loans to spur economic revitalization projects. Local governments borrowing funds guaranteed by HUD through the Section 108 program must pledge their current and future CDBG allocations as security for the loan.

In 2013, an EF-3 tornado impacted a 32-mile area in Missouri, primarily in St. Louis County. The tornado and associated severe weather damaged numerous small businesses and disrupted the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for more than two weeks.

The racial tensions there don’t seem to be ending anytime soon and these funds may not solve the numerous issues troubling North St. Louis, but at least it’s a start to offer a better future for the county, assuming the funds are used correctly and appropriately. Let’s see what happens.

Let us know what you think about this funding. Will it make a dent in the issues that concern North St. Louis? We’d like to hear from you.

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