Every five years, cities around the country receive funding from the federal government to invest in long-term improvement projects in their neighborhoods. Fort Wayne was one of the cities that received Housing and Urban Development – or, HUD – dollars this year, and plans for the money were recently unveiled.
Fort Wayne received over 14 million dollars from the federal government to improve and develop select neighborhoods around the city over the next five years.
With this funding, the City hopes to make housing modifications to keep at least 50 residents in their homes, add 20 businesses to the City, and construct roughly 200 rental opportunities by the year 2020, among other improvements.
The project is divided into nine goals, which focus on affordable housing and rental opportunities, making homes more accessible, decreasing poverty and homelessness, and making neighborhoods safer.
Fort Wayne received HUD funds in 2005 and 2010, and as the City’s Director of Housing and Neighborhood Services Heather Presley-Cowen says, the money has been put to good use.
“Renaissance Point launched in 2007, and today has probably somewhere in the order of $50 to $70 million worth of investment because we put in infrastructure," she said. "Downtown is another; we saw the very first low-income housing tax credit development project.”
Indeed, many around Fort Wayne will tell you the city has come a long way over the last decade. Andy Downs serves as a vice-chairperson on the Fort Wayne Housing Authority and he agrees.
“If you drive into any urban community, find the place where there is a low-income area that looks like it’s doing alright and has had some improvement recently, more than likely there’s some HUD dollars there.”
In the short term, the City is hoping to see four businesses and 13 new homes constructed while constructing upwards of 40 rental units in 2016.
The “Five Year Fix” series starts Monday, and will look at the City’s efforts to improve neighborhoods and housing opportunities around Fort Wayne. You can hear the “Five Year Fix” series during Morning Edition and All Things Considered all next week on 89.1 WBOI.