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Categorized | Business, Nation, Neighborhood

Rell Proposes Help for Towns Hit By Foreclosures

HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell is proposing to use $3.6 million of the federal stimulus money to help small cities and towns ”rebuild neighborhoods” affected most by the foreclosure crisis. Bloomfield and Windsor are among towns listed to receive grants if Rell`s plan is approved.

 The plan, Rell said in a press release, will will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday, June 10 at the Legislative Office Building at  2 p.m.  in Room 2C of the LOB.

Rell said funds will allow a dozen communities to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed and vacant homes so that they can be re-sold at affordable prices to low- and moderate-income families. The cities would also be able to upgrade critical infrastructure in those neighborhoods, such as water and sewer lines, streets and sidewalks.

“These are sound investments that will help fill those homes will families and bring neighborhoods back to life. Just as critical is the work needed to stabilize and rehabilitate them, which will create jobs and put money back into local economies,” Rell said.  “The block grants will allow municipal leaders to help their local families realize the American dream of home ownership in livable, vibrant neighborhoods.”

Connecticut will receive $3,616,527 in Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funding, authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The  Small Cities CDBG – R Allocation Plan, developed by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), proposes to award the funds to Ansonia, Bloomfield, East Haven, Enfield, Killingly, Naugatuck, New Milford, Plainfield, Shelton, Torrington, Wallingford, and Windsor. 

“Combined with the $25 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding awarded earlier this year to our largest cities, these stimulus block grants will support and make investments in neighborhoods that are most at risk as the housing crisis continues to threaten the economic stability of our cities and towns,” Rell said.

The governor also said home restoration must be done in the most energy efficient manner possible. Infrastructure upgrades also must promote energy efficiency and conservation and smart growth. Consideration should be given to adding more bus stops to encourage mass transportation, bicycle lanes and energy-saving street lighting.

In preparing the allocation plan, DECD proposed funding the 12 municipalities with the highest foreclosure activity as determined through Neighborhood Stabilization Program guidelines and data collected in 2008.

 “We believe that our plan created to allocate NSP funding, which was done in coordination with the largest cities that received funding and HUD, was a good model for dealing with the foreclosure issues,” DECD Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “Rather than reinvent the wheel with these ‘one-time’ CDBG stimulus funds, we are proposing to use the same criteria to help guide our decisions.”

 Comparing the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2008, the number of foreclosed homes in these 12 communities rose by 32 percent during this time period. The lis pendens filings, which represent filings on potential foreclosures, rose in these towns by 57 percent over this same time period. The maximum grant any one recipient can receive is $750,000, and all grants funds must be spent by September 30, 2012.

A final plan will be submitted to U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials after the hearing for approval.

To view the state’s block grant plan visit the state stimulus Web site at www.ct.gov, click on CT Recovery and go to the Accountability section.

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