Texas public agency looks to remodel 6,000 homes

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Associated Press

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 5:03 PM

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas housing authority plans to use a new federal program to invest $300 million to $500 million to renovate about 6,000 homes.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Rental Assistance Demonstration program allows housing authorities like the one in El Paso to take ownership of buildings rather than just take federal dollars to manage them, the El Paso Times reported (http://bit.ly/1eAqGkY ). That allows agencies to partner with private investors on repairs rather forcing them to depend solely on government funding.

The housing authority received about $9 million in federal funds to improve the buildings it manages. It*s the biggest allocation of federal funds for that purpose in the state and represents an increase of more than 27 percent from last year. However, the authority's director Gerald Cichon says it's a drop in the bucket compared to what the city needs.

The El Paso Housing Authority says it is applying for federal tax credits and is confident it will receive approval from the federal government to convert the units to the Rental Assistanace Demonstration program. Plans call for the federal government to pay private landlords a percentage of the rent.

The system in gives extra points to projects with community backing such as city resolutions of support. The housing authority is asking the city for support for the tax credits to transform five developments.

The homes would be renovated as mixed-income developments rather than solely for low-income families.

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Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com

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