Federal Grant to Help Buena Vida

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POSTED: Monday, December 20, 2010 - 4:32pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 2:25pm

Brownsville is applying for a $31 million fedreal housing grant.

The City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Housing Authority are applying for a $31 million federal housing grant to restructure and rebuild the Buena Vida neighborhood.

"We're going for the first round which is the hardest for the review team, they are going to select between four and five applications nationwide," said Antonio Juarez, Brownsville Housing Authority Executive Director.

The Brownsville Housing Authority said this is the only application from the Rio Grande Valley to their knowledge in a long time, and that the Lower Valley is overdue to receive funding.

The Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant is extremely competitive across the U.S., but the Brownsville Housing Authority feels their partnership with the city, BISD, the Brownsville Utility Board and UTB/TSC will give their application a competitive edge.

The Planning and Community Development Department said the Buena Vida neighborhood is one of the most impoverished in the country. So the proposed plan is not to fix the current housing but to start over from scratch.

"The plan is to demolish the 150 units, but the grant does require if we demolish lower income units, we have to replace them one per one," said Juarez.

The submitted plan brings in a lot of new amenities.

"Beautiful model, a lot of green space, energy efficient eco-friendly, there's going to be a water collection system, there's going to be services provided, social services provided by all of it's entities so that is is self-sufficient," said Stephanie Garza, Grant Writer.

If the plan passes, current residents would receive relocation assistance so that building could start as soon as possible.

"The project will take about five years to complete as part of grant does, that is what it will take but if we can get it done sooner, that would be great. We're going to start the demolition right away, everything approved, no problems with land use, zoning, it's ready to go," said Garza.

The Housing Authority said they will find out in no more than six months if they made it to the second round in the grant selection process.

Comments News Comments

What is wrong with the existing buildings? are taxpayer dollars used monthly to maintain the existing buildings? is new housing really needed? why are there green spaces? what does eco-friendly mean? code word for spending more taxpayer dollars?? do the residents pay each month to live there? are illegal aliens residing there? is there any financial corruption at the housing authority? was there an audit to determine any financial corruption? who will oversee the 31 million taxpayer dollars?

The ignorance from this Taxpayer is unbelievable! Do your research if you have so many questions. Are you even familiar with the way HUD money works or how competitive this grant process is? Housing Authorities have to be independently audited yearly. These comments are a primary example why Brownsville will always be behind the times.

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