Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jacksonville gets additional $7 million for neighborhood program

A major portion of new federal neighborhood stabilization funds announced Wednesday will go to Florida, with Jacksonville getting $7.1 million to boost its program.

The $1 billion in additional federal money being distributed throughout the United States is mostly aimed at rehabilitating foreclosed properties and creating jobs and affordable housing while keeping property values from declining further in the neighborhoods hit hardest by the recession, federal officials said.

The program has been operating in Jacksonville mostly on the Northside and Westside. Wight Greger, director of the city Housing and Neighborhoods Department, said the funds would be a much-needed boost to the program, which helps pay for 40 percent of the cost to buy and renovate foreclosed homes.

The idea is to spur developers to work on projects they might not otherwise try and to keep abandoned and crumbling foreclosed homes from further bringing down neighborhoods.

The $26 million the city received as part of the 2008 stimulus package resulted in the acquisition of 253 vacant, foreclosed units that have been rehabbed or are in the process of it, and the demolition of 100 more.

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