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Sept. 20, 2020

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Vancouver to receive $1.88 million for affordable housing

Cantwell announces combination of grants from federal programs

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Vancouver will receive $1.88 million in new affordable housing grants, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell announced last week.

The funding will come in the form of $1.24 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, Community Development Block Grant Program, as well as $646,431 from HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program, the Democratic senator said in a media release.

“We get those funds every year,” said Peggy Sheehan, the city’s community development grants manager. “They’re entitlement funds. We go through a community process where we ask members of the community to apply for the funds that meet the CDGB and HOME fund requirements, then the funds are prioritized by the committee and the council approves them.”

The final number is slightly less than the $2.3 million the city council had planned to receive back in May, when it approved its CDBG/HOME Action Plan.

The latest plan includes 24 various projects around the city through agencies such as Share, the Vancouver Housing Authority and Fourth Plain Forward.

The most expensive line items on the list are $250,000 for the acquisition or rehabilitation of a new homeless shelter awarded to Vancouver Affordable Housing, as well as $332,778 set aside for administration.

Other major projects include:

• $200,000 for 73 homes through Mercy-Peace Health Housing.

• $107,500 for 85 home rehabilitation and preservation projects through Second Step Housing.

• $175,000 for rental assistance through Second Step Housing.

• $100,000 for land acquisition for Evergreen Habitat for Humanity.

• $158,648 to Share for rental assistance and housing services.

The CDBG Program has been around since 1972, when it was established with the goal of supporting home ownership, housing rehabilitation and economic development within communities. Since then, the program has awarded $153 billion nationwide.

The HOME program helps state and local governments increase the stock of housing for low-income residents and, since 1992, has assisted in the building of 1.3 million housing units. The program also provides direct rental assistance to low-income people.

Vancouver has multiple pots of money to assist in building and maintaining affordable housing. The $42 million Affordable Housing Fund, approved by the city’s voters in 2016, is a separate piece of the puzzle, though Sheehan said certain housing projects sometimes draw from both resources.

“There’s a couple that we use both pots of money for,” Sheehan said.

At the city council meeting Monday, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle celebrated Cantwell’s announcement.

“Congratulations to the city, $1.8 million in CDBG and home funds — yay! That’s pretty exciting,” McEnerny-Ogle said.

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