Newport News housing authority gets more federal funding than expected

Karen Wilds, executive director Newport News redevelopment authority, talks about the ongoing renovation at Oyster Point apartments. (Judith Lowery / Daily Press)

No one is ever upset about more money.

The Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority found out Thursday that it will receive almost $400,000 more than expected in federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The housing authority will get $1.2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $786,711 in HOME funds, according to a joint press release from Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

The CDBG program provides annual grants to states and localities so they can develop “viable urban communities” through housing and by expanding economic opportunities for low-to-moderate-income residents, according to the press release.

HOME program funds can be used to expand “decent, affordable housing.”

The funding announced Thursday is a total $385,231 more than what Newport News received last fiscal year, according to Karen Wilds, the director of the housing authority.

“We knew the numbers were higher … this was probably a little more than we were guessing,” she said.

The CDBG funds will be used for ongoing projects, housing rehabilitation and demolition of blighted properties, Wilds said. These funds will support projects tied to the Choice Neighborhood program that the city has pursued since 2016, Wilds said.

Through the Choice Neighborhood program, the city received a $500,000 planning grant that has developed ideas to rehabilitate the Ridley Place housing complex and the area surrounding it. It is partially anchored on introducing mixed-income housing and razing Ridley Place (which would be at least two years away and need final approval from the City Council).

The city is now one of six finalists for a roughly $30 million grant to implement some of these plans.

The HOME funds will be used on a rolling basis, Wilds said. They are awarded to entities who apply for them, such as the developers who are flipping Whittaker Memorial Hospital into affordable apartments.

In total, Virginia cities will receive about $94.8 million in funding, according to the press release from Kaine and Warner.

Amin can be reached by phone at 757-247-4890 or on Twitter at @reemadamin.

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