More than $2.3 million in federal stimulus money was funneled through the city Tuesday night as City Council members voted to help alleviate housing woes in Chattanooga's worst neighborhoods.
"We have projects ready to go," said Beverly Johnson, administrator for the city's Department of Public Works and Community Development. "These aren't pie in the sky."
The council voted unanimously to approve five resolutions allocating the money. Councilwoman Deborah Scott abstained from one vote because she serves on the board of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise.
The money is supposed to help stabilize neighborhoods suffering from foreclosures and vacant lots, Ms. Johnson said. She said the city has six projects for which the money will be allocated.
The money will be used to help develop eight new, affordably priced, energy-efficient homes in Bushtown; construct or renovate 10 homes in the Glenwood/Orchard Knob neighborhood; provide a minimum of eight hours of homebuyer education for up to 40 eligible families; develop four affordable houses for homeless persons; build seven homes for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga; and buy foreclosed homes, mostly in Brainerd, records show.
WHERE THE MONEY WENT
The city allocated $2.3 million in federal stimulus money over the last two weeks. The projects include:
* $350,000: Money for Bushtown neighborhood project
* $900,000: Money for Glenwood/Orchard Knob neighborhood project
* $10,000: Funds for homebuyer education
* $142,000: Development of four homes for homeless
* $500,000: Amount of money for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga, Inc.
* $652,000: Money allocated for buying foreclosed homes
Source: Department of Neighborhood Service and Community Development
Jesse Wiles, a consultant with APD Urban Planning and Management, said the money also helped raise private dollars.
"The funds will be used in such a way that it will leverage other funds," he said.
Private investors also threw in $2.9 million, records show. Ms. Johnson said a second round of stimulus money -- $600,000 -- will be funded in coming weeks.
Councilman Peter Murphy, who represents Bushtown, Glenwood and Orchard Knob, said Tuesday that the money is helping revitalize old, "wonderful" neighborhoods that need some help.
"It's helping to open further investment by responsible investors," he said.
Pete Palmer, executive director for Habitat Humanity of Greater Chattanooga, said because of the "sluggish" economy it has been hard to raise money for community needs. He said there are now 12 families on a waiting list for homes.
"It's perfect timing," he said of the money.
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