KINGSPORT - The Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority received a quarter-million-dollar shot in the arm on Wednesday, money that will be used to help public housing residents achieve home ownership.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday $1.4 billion in funding for more than 5,300 local homeless programs throughout the nation. As its share, the KHRA received $249,041 under a Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) grant.
HUD officials say the grants will support a record number of local programs, providing critically needed emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent support to more than 150,000 individuals and families.
U.S. Rep. David Davis, R-Tenn., made the announcement during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the KHRA office.
"It's our job to make sure that we bring some of those dollars back home to help people in our communities. I'm happy to do that," Davis said.
KHRA officials said the ROSS grant would promote educational involvement and emphasize resident employment by opening the doors to training, employment and other economic opportunities. The program will also facilitate job retention and wage progression through intensive case management, job skill development training and targeted supportive services.
"We're going to work with public housing residents who are interested in moving toward home ownership. The ultimate goal would be home ownership, but it's not the only goal," said KHRA Director Terry Cunningham. "We'll also work with folks to help them manage their credit better and to develop some life skills so they can get themselves in a position to be able to own a home."
Cunningham said the KHRA would also work with a number of other organizations to help residents, such as Frontier Health, legal services and other Tennessee housing development agencies. The grant will also dovetail with the HOPE VI project currently under way at the KHRA.
In October, HUD announced the awarding of $11.9 million in HOPE VI grant funds to the KHRA. The project calls for replacing the 92 public housing units at Riverview with 28 to 32 houses and for 24 new houses to be built in the Sherwood/Hiwassee community.
As part of the HOPE VI project, the KHRA also received 87 Section 8 vouchers which residents could use to eventually help them into home ownership.
"Helping our citizens transition from public housing to home ownership promotes personal growth and builds communities," said Mayor Dennis Phillips. "I am delighted that through this funding, the KHRA will continue their good work."