Tag Archives: housing

More Federal Money Flows into TN

Money for Dept. of Education
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s Education Department has been awarded a federal grant for more than $5.5 million to improve pay structures and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high-poverty schools.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the Teacher Incentive Fund award on Thursday. It will serve school districts in Haywood, Lincoln and Polk counties.
The money will help fund the state’s Recognizing Excellence in Rural Tennessee project. It will build on recent efforts to implement a statewide educator evaluation system that ties student outcomes to educator effectiveness ratings.
Money for Henry Home Rehab
A $500,000 Community Development Block Grant has been awarded to the City of Henry to help fund rehabilitation of several homes in the city, reports the Paris Post Intelligencer.
Gov. Bill Haslam appeared at the Henry Civic Center Wednesday afternoon to announce the awarding of the CDBG. More than 100 people greeted the governor, along with State Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan; State Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden; and Henry Mayor Joe Qualls.
Haslam said he likes the CDBG program, saying it’s one that “Washington got right.”
He said this is a program where the federal government sends taxpayer money back to states, who get to decide which applications are most worthy and then “help a community do some things they may or may not be able to afford otherwise.”

Money for UT
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has won a $3.5 million federal grant for a nuclear innovation project.
The award was announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Nuclear Energy University Programs.
The programs support complex projects to develop breakthroughs for the U.S. nuclear energy industry. The three-year research projects are led by universities working in collaboration with the nuclear industry, national laboratories and international partners.
Money for Civil War Battlefields
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Eight Civil War battlefields, including three in Kentucky and Tennessee, are receiving more than $2.4 million in grants to help with land acquisition.
The National Park Service said Thursday that the grant money will help in the permanent preservation and protection of the battlefields. This year marks the 150 year anniversary of several important Civil War battles.
The park service says the battlefield in Franklin, Tenn. is getting $112,800.
The battlefield in Perryville, Ky. is receiving $43,715, while Mill Springs, Ky. is getting $330,500.
The other battlefields getting land acquisition grant money are in North Carolina and Virginia.

THDA Spurns Fed Funds for Housing Low-income, Disabled

The state’s housing agency turned down the chance to apply for $12 million in federal rental assistance for people with disabilities — overruling a recommendation by its own staff and by the state’s TennCare Medicaid agency.
More from The Tennessean:
Advocates for the disabled say the funding is desperately needed to address a housing crisis among people with disabilities who want to live independently but who are often forced into homelessness or into institutions, which cost the state more money.
The aid is the only major new source of federal funding available this year for people who are very poor and have physical, mental or developmental disabilities, said Ann O’Hara, associate director for Boston-based Technical Assistance Collaborative Resource Center on Supportive Housing, a consulting firm. O’Hara said her agency has worked with at least 20 other states that have expressed interest in the funding.
The 2010 law creating the new Section 811 rental assistance program was passed with rare bipartisan support, with unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. It requires no upfront state money, but it does require that the state Medicaid agency partner with a housing agency to provide vouchers that people can use to pay their landlords.
Board members of the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency at their July 24 meeting shelved the plan to apply for a piece of the $85 million in funding that just became available, declining to take a vote. The deadline for applications passed on July 31.
A memo from THDA staff members to the board said “staff recommends board approval to submit an application.” TennCare also recommended that the state apply for the maximum state allotment of $12 million, saying the money would pay for TennCare’s efforts to keep people out of nursing homes.
Board member Ralph Perrey said he had philosophical differences with the federal program requiring a 20-year commitment from states but offering only five years of guaranteed funding, with annual congressional approval required afterward.
O’Hara said that all programs subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that THDA and other agencies already administer come with similar terms. Programs for the homeless and for seniors and Section 8 rental vouchers operate in the same way, she said.
Executive Director Tim Fellman said he and other board members were concerned that the program capped administrative costs at 5 percent of the federal grant.
That could mean THDA would have to use its own money to cover administrative costs of the program, he said

TN ‘Mortgage Hotline’ Set Up to Help Struggling Homeowners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee attorney general and Tennessee Housing Development Agency have created a mortgage hotline for struggling homeowners.
The development comes after attorneys general across the country reached an agreement with the nation’s top five mortgage services that will provide an estimated $140 million in relief to Tennesseans.
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said the idea behind the hotline is to make sure the state’s homeowners get the help they deserve.
Homeowners calling the new hotline can learn about housing assistance programs or be directed to foreclosure prevention counselors.
The toll-free number is (855) 876-7283. It is available Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time.

Note: News release below.

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Fed-funded Program to Help Low-Income Renters Squeezed

A federal program that helps low-income families pay their housing costs is being squeezed by a weak economy, according to The Tennessean.
High demand and federal cuts have stretched the budgets for Section 8 vouchers, payments to landlords that help cover the rent for low-income families. Tennessee agencies have been forced to respond by refusing to take on new families, telling landlords that they cannot increase rents and rolling back the amount they are willing to pay, leaving thousands of tenants to make up the difference.
The moves have helped agencies keep as many as 1,000 Middle Tennessee families on the rolls, housing officials say. But they also have kept more people from joining the program, cut into the finances of landlords who rent to low-income families and required those who receive the vouchers to dig deeper for rent.
“It’s been a struggle,” said Darlene Knight, a Bordeaux voucher recipient and fast-food worker affected by the cut. “It’s been a real struggle.”
Middle Tennessee’s two main housing agencies — the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency — have both acted this summer to cut the size of Section 8 vouchers for hundreds of residents, informing them that they will have to pay more of their rent immediately or risk losing rental assistance.