Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Night Happenings Part II...

One of the most proud moments of my administration is when we decided to move federally funded HUD programs in-house.
The results of that move have been unquestionably successful. First up was the Home Code Compliance Grant Program, which was unveiled in the beginning of last summer. Intended to distribute grants to individual property owners looking to make improvements to their homes and bring them up to code, the program has become a shining example of what happens when this money is used correctly.
Since last July we have been replacing roofs, fixing doors, changing windows, and improving living conditions in more than 100 homes throughout Troy. The total amount of money spent adds up to more than $500,000. As I said earlier this year, this is the very definition of preservation. By helping people renovate the homes that they have known for so long, we are not only improving the housing stock, but also making sure that our neighborhoods have room to grow.
As of today, there is a growing list of people waiting to take advantage of this program. As the money flows from the federal government, we spend it, ensuring that the program benefits those it is intended to. In just one year, we have completed twice as many projects as the previous group had over the course of five years.
The second portion of the federally funded programs gave us the Housing Investment Program, or HIP. The first recipients of this program were Hector and Francis Sanchez. HIP provides low to moderate income families with a down payment so that they may purchase their first home. I originally met Hector and Francis (who is named after her father if you are wondering about the spelling) shortly before the holiday season. As we walked into their new home for the first time, they both remarked that without this program in place, it would've taken them several years to come up with enough money for a down payment on their new home.
It was wonderful to hear that. When you take a bold step to bring a program in-house, I will tell you it will make you nervous. I wanted to make sure that we could get the job done. Just like the Code Compliance Program, HIP has been a tremendous success, helping dozens of families in Troy purchase new homes for the first time.
Which brings us to the third leg of the HUD funding- the Troy Homes project. This is the most ambitious aspect of our new philosophy concerning HUD funding in City Hall. It will also be the most successful.
Last month we held a ground-breaking on Project Road, and announced by this fall six new homes would be built on land owned by the City of Troy, and that those homes would be sold to six low to moderate income families. These are new homes, being built by a Troy developer, that we hope will be a dream come to true in just several weeks.
This evening at City Hall we held a public information meeting for those interested in becoming the first people chosen for this project. We are quite sure that the list will exceed the six houses that we currently have. But we will continue to build. It will likely be two homes a year, each one in a different area of the City.
To be clear, those chosen from the field will have to qualify financially to ensure that the project will be a success. The money paid to the City for the homes covers the cost of construction, and is then put back into the program so that it may continue in future years. All of these homes are placed on the tax rolls, and will be a great benefit to the neighborhoods in Troy.
Much like the Housing Investment Program, we will target these programs at families living in public housing. Unfortunately, in some instances Troy Housing has become generational housing, and not the emergency temporary housing it was intended to be. We believe that these programs will help improve the housing stock in Troy, and the lives of all of our residents.
If you have any questions about the HUD-funded programs we have brought in house, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at the or
Thanks, and have a great Friday!