Las Vegas Sun

December 16, 2018

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County to request millions in federal housing funds

Clark County is applying for millions in federal dollars to fund low-income housing and fight homelessness.

The Community Development Advisory Committee today recommended six projects for a requested total of more than $6.6 million in state and federal funding. Four projects would be dedicated to housing for seniors by creating almost 500 units and one would help low-income families by building 80 units.

The largest chunk of funding is more than $2.5 million for Accessible Space Inc.’s Stepping Stone Apartments Project, which would house those with certain neurological conditions and traumatic brain injuries.

Nevada’s Low Income Housing Trust Fund matches dollars from the federal HOME Investment Partnership. With commissioners’ vote to approve the recommendations today, the county will apply for the funding with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Nevada’s Housing Division.

Officials based the funding requests on budget allocations from last year. Kristin Cooper, community resources manager, said the Clark County HOME Consortium is estimated to receive $8.2 million in new and prior year funding from the federal HOME program and the state’s HOME and low-income housing credit dollars for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year. She said almost $1 million is set to be allocated to North Las Vegas.

Affordable housing developers requested $11.6 million, while the advisory committee had $6.6 million to allocate. Cooper said the hope is that the county will get more funding than last year based on the omnibus spending plan recently passed by Congress.

The roughly 600 new units will be available to low-income residents for at least 20 years, Cooper said.

Commissioners also OK’d projects to receive more than $600,000 in Emergency Solutions Grant program funds that the county is eligible to receive. Those projects for homeless kids and families, including the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, will be included in the FY2018 HUD Action Plan.

Advisory committee Chair Lois Greene said members of the group visited project sites, heard presentations from developers and finalized its recommendations in March.

If federal funding is lower than the county’s request, officials said the six projects would be awarded based on priority while the emergency solutions grants would be reduced across the board.

Two projects in North Las Vegas will not receive any of funding the developers requested.

“We didn’t have enough money to get to everybody,” Cooper said. “They do take into consideration whether it’s in the county or the city, because the city does receive its own allocation of HOME funds.”

Cities also have to provide significant support for a project before the county can contribute its HOME funds in another jurisdiction, Cooper said. One of the unfunded projects, Nevada HAND Inc.’s North 5th Street Apartments, has since been recommended for other funding by the City of North Las Vegas.

“They are next on our list of funds to waterfall down if we do get additional funding,” Cooper said.

Commissioners also declared April fair housing month in Clark County. Silver State Fair Housing Council Southern Nevada Program Manager Ivonne Almaraz said it’s important to continue fighting against discrimination in housing.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story used the phrase "public housing" instead of "affordable housing" or "low-income housing." The terms are not synonymous. | (April 3, 2018)