Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pinal County Seeks Public Comment on Use of $3.16 million in Federal Funds

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County is seeking public comment on its application for federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) funds.  The public comment period ends February 18.  The entire application can be found on the Pinal County website at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/Housing/Pages/Home.aspx.  
Pinal County aims to participate in the third round of funding through the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Program's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  The program provides targeted emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire, redevelop or demolish foreclosed properties.
The County proposes to use its $3.16 million allocation to address foreclosure issues in four "areas of greatest need" that meet strict criteria outlined by the HUD grant program.  The areas chosen are select neighborhoods within the cities of Apache Junction, Coolidge and Casa Grande.  The areas were chosen based on criteria set forth by the NSP3 program as well as input from municipal employees within the county.
Adeline Allen, Pinal County Housing and Community Development Director, explained that selecting areas of focus was made difficult by the limitations imposed on use of the funds.
"No area of the county has been immune to foreclosures and these funds aren't enough to make the problem go away," said Adeline Allen, Pinal County Housing & Community Development Director. 
Allen said the NSP program developed a tool to identify areas of greatest need, along with estimates on how to make a positive impact in those areas.  Large areas had to be reduced in size because there wasn't enough money to make a positive impact.
"We hope to show that concentrating funds in a smaller area can make a positive impact on neighborhoods," Allen said.  "We would like to show that the infusion of these targeted grants can halt declines, stabilize communities and aid in recovery."
Much of the funding will be used to help qualified home buyers with down payment, closing cost assistance and financing.  Because of the focus on foreclosed homes, the county also will use some NSP3 funds to repair the homes to a livable standard.  In addition, the county will work with a non-profit organization in the Apache Junction area that will construct homes for income-qualified families.
Prior to final submittal, the application with any proposed changes resulting from the public input will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review and approval, most likely at the February 23 meeting.  The application must be submitted to federal officials by March 1.
To comment on Pinal County's planned use of the NSP3 funds, please write or email your comments to:
NSP3 Program
970 North Eleven Mile Corner Road
Casa Grande, AZ  85194
Phone:  520-866-7236
E-Mail:  nsp3@pinalcountyaz.gov