first_imgFOOTNOTE: This letter was taken of HOPE-Evansville Website and posted without editing. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare January 24, 2020HOPE Secures $240,000 in Federal Funds to Develop One of Evansville’s Most Under-resourced Neighborhoodsby Nikki Waller, Director of Financial & Relational Development of HOPE-Evansvillecenter_img Through collaboration and hard work, HOPE of Evansville has gained traction to leverage federal funds and local resources in developing under-resourced communities of Evansville.  HOPE of Evansville, together with the City of Evansville has been approved for a grant of $240,000 by the Board of Public Works. The existing structure at 101 East Tennessee will be rehabilitated to further add to the community development work being conducted by several nonprofits.“We have been trying to designate these grant funds for a couple of years. It feels good to finally have the approval to move forward on something that will benefit this neighborhood,” said Executive Director, Josh Case.HOPE unsuccessfully tried to build two homes with these same funds, but the federally required environmental costs would have totaled more than $100,000, and therefore made the projects nonviable. HOPE was notified by the city that if it didn’t find a new project soon, the grant money would be sent back to the federal government in the Spring of 2020. This would have meant the City would not benefit from these funds at all.While people in the community have said the cost seems too high for a single-family rehabilitation, Josh Case explains “the overall cost of the project is $240,000, which includes a significant budget for federally required reviews and testing. These expenses are unavoidable.“These expenses include historical & environmental reviews, lead abatement/removal, market studies, and other costs that market-rate developers are not required to complete. These tests and reviews consume more than a quarter of the total project cost.“The Federal government wants to ensure that we are building structures on safe ground.  With the history of contaminated soil affecting our children, we have to be extra cautious,” said Case. “This home will be sold to someone who is under 80% of the Area Median Income. Doing a thorough rehabilitation is a service to future generations that will live in and around this home for many years to come.”In addition to the 101 Tennessee single-family rehabilitation project, these grants that HOPE has secured have helped HOPE secure $12 million of additional funds to build 60 units of affordable housing in the community.  Those 60 units include 30 single-family units and 30 in an apartment complex that will all be affordable.In addition to rehabilitating a dilapidated home in an underserved neighborhood, HOPE is committed to keeping the funds local by hiring local contractors and construction crews.“More than rehabilitating housing, we want to add to our local economy with these funds. That’s why it is important to us that we not only invest in our neighborhoods but that we invest in our locally owned businesses too,” said Case. “Because of this, we chose a locally owned development company, Crescent Valley, to complete the work.”In November of 2019, HOPE publicly bid this rehabilitation project through the Courier & Press for two weeks. Two public meetings were also advertised to answer any public comments and explain the project before bids were received.“It is possible the $240,000 budget outlined for the home on Tennessee is generous and we may not use all of those funds for this home, in which case, we can reinvest in other projects,” said Case. “What’s important is that we were able to secure this money for our community and avoid losing the federal funding of it altogether”Proceeds and unused funds for this house will be used to rehabilitate a second home at 16 East Louisiana street.This isn’t the first time HOPE has been a large part of transforming a neighborhood. In 2000, HOPE began construction in partnership with the City of Evansville and constructed 23 homes that were sold in a neighborhood known as the Haynie’s Corner Arts District. The success of those 23 homes enabled HOPE to leverage funding for our city from the federal government for an additional 43 homes over the following 15 years (2000-2015).“You can drive down Washington and see many of the homes we built  10 years ago,” said Case. “The neighborhood you see today isn’t the neighborhood that existed then. That’s just proof that it all starts with one house.”last_img

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