City eyeing $5.9m in housing funds

NASHUA – The city is in line to receive federal money that will allow it to buy and resell foreclosed and abandoned properties on Main Street and in the Tree Streets neighborhood.

The city submitted a pre-application for $5.9 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds, said Scott Slattery, the city’s urban programs director.

Gov. John Lynch and the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority announced Monday that Nashua and four other “tier one” communities have been invited to apply for the $19.6 million pot of Neighborhood Stabilization Funds.

Joining Nashua as top-priority communities for the money are Manchester, Derry, Rochester and Berlin, according to the state officials.

“Nothing is assured yet. We feel pretty strongly we’ll receive some funding,” Slattery said.

Funds are available through a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program.

“The money is to be used to purchase foreclosed and abandoned properties,” Slattery said.

A public hearing required for the city to accept the funds is scheduled for April 8, and it’s anticipated the aldermen will approve the legislation April 14.

The deadline for the city’s application is May 1.

Areas targeted include Main Street and the Tree Streets, Slattery said. The money will allow the city to purchase and then resell properties, he said.

“Our emphasis is on home ownership,” Slattery said.

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Proceeds from properties that are resold will be returned to the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority, which then will channel the money to lower priority “tier two” communities, Slattery said.

Properties that can’t be resold will be rented, and the city will partner with Harbor Homes and the Neighborhood Housing Authority to manage the rentals, Slattery said.

“These grants will allow communities to purchase and rehabilitate properties that will provide more affordable housing opportunities for our hard-working men and women and help strengthen struggling neighborhoods,” Lynch said in the press statement.

HUD regulations specify that the funds can only be used in communities that had the highest number and percentage of home foreclosures, the number and percentage of homes financed by subprime mortgage-related loans, and data indicating a municipality’s likelihood of facing a significant rise in the rate of home foreclosures.

Other communities may be eligible for additional funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An additional $2 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds will be available through a competitive application process between all states, according to the press release.

Any municipality or nonprofit can apply on its behalf directly to HUD for this highly competitive block of grants.

“Neighborhood Stabilization funds will help to transform areas of communities into vibrant and safe neighborhoods for individuals and families,” Katharine Bogle Shields, executive director of the Community Development Finance Authority, said in the press release.

“We anticipate these funds making a big difference economically and aesthetically, not only for the municipality but also for hardworking people who deserve to live in affordable and quality housing,” Shields said.

CDFA is a nonprofit public entity, created by legislation in 1983. The CDFA administers over $35 million in state and federal monies that it grants or loans to municipalities and nonprofits in New Hampshire.