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Examiner
  • Federal funds will go to redevelop two rental homes

  • In the past three years, the use of a federal program’s funds has helped redevelop properties for home ownership in western Independence.

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  • In the past three years, the use of a federal program’s funds has helped redevelop properties for home ownership in western Independence.
    But now, a slight adjustment in an agreement between the city and NorthWest Communities Development Corporation is taking place to allow for some of that funding to also go toward rehabilitating two rental homes.
    The City Council Monday night approved an amendment to the city’s and NWCDC’s contract, first approved in April 2010, to allow for Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding to help two existing single-family homes at 201 N. Hardy Ave. and 10314 E. Gill St. Previously, the city and NWCDC worked together on the Norledge neighborhood mixed-income redevelopment project, which garnered national attention from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in late 2011.
    The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created in 2008 to help stabilize communities that suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. It allows communities like Independence to redevelop foreclosed, abandoned or vacant properties for the benefit of individuals at or below 120 percent of the median income.
    BP Amoco donated the Hardy Avenue and Gill Street properties that are small dwellings in need of some rehabilitation, with about $43,000 in NSP funding going toward that purpose.
    Facing questions from District 4 Council Member Eileen Weir, Community Development Department Director Jennifer Clark said the change to the contract would only affect these two properties and that any future changes also would need to come before the council for its consideration.
    With the two properties, NWCDC would remain the property owner and landlord, with NSP-required deed restrictions to keep the homes affordable for a certain length of time. The city keeps the right of notification if NWCDC ever decided to try to sell the properties, Clark said.
    NWCDC already has experience with rental property in the Fairmount Plaza apartments for seniors. District 1 Council Member Marcie Gragg said the two rental properties allow an opportunity for seniors to stay in the neighborhood without having to worry about the upkeep of owning a home themselves.
    “This is an opportunity to stay in that neighborhood and let someone else manage the property,” said Gragg, whose represented area includes the two properties.
    Although many seniors have already expressed interest in possibly renting the two properties, Clark said that Fair Housing regulations prohibit the city from limiting them based on age.
    “I do know that the NorthWest CDC already has a number of seniors who’ve inquired about these properties and are anxious to look into them,” Clark said.
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