Less federal funding expected for housing

The HOPE VI program has influenced how housing is managed.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:53 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The Columbia Housing Authority’s housing task force met with two representatives from Swope Community Enterprises on Monday to begin planning for a study that will guide development of low-income housing north of downtown.

The discussion, which marked the beginning of the study, touched on the funding sources of all projects suggested by the task force and the developmental agency.

One preliminary source of funding is Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, or HOPE VI. The federal program escaped being completely cut by the Bush administration but for the past two years has suffered huge funding cuts.

Swope representatives LaDene Morton and Jill Lawlor told the task force all possible sources of funds would be considered in their study. The representatives, along with task force members, said that the outlook for Hope VI wasn’t good but still a possibility to fund projects in Columbia.

Even if funding from the federal program doesn’t help in construction of local projects, Hope VI will influence how affordable housing renovation in Columbia is managed and carried out.

“When we’re looking at benchmarking, we’re definitely looking at old Hope VI projects,” Lawlor said.

Hope VI was launched in 1992 with a $5 million budget. The program is responsible for redesigning and renovating distressed public housing.

Some topics of the housing authority study could include less isolation, more north and south traffic to downtown, using local builders and providing economic opportunities.

Included in Monday’s discussion were suggested parameters for the study. Task force member John Clark, president of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association, suggested expanding the proposed boundaries of the study. Right now the boundaries are Broadway, Garth Avenue, Business Loop 70 and College Avenue.

The task force’s next meeting is scheduled for July 25.

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