The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency’s Board of Commissioners has approved a plan to reallocate $7.1 million in federal money from flood relief to downtown riverfront redevelopment.
Another $1.3 million will be redirected toward the construction of a new affordable housing development on Jefferson Street. The plan will also require approval from the Metro Council, a process officials expect to begin this month, and a final review from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The funds come from a $33 million grant the city received from HUD after the May 2010 flood.
At the MDHA board’s meeting Tuesday, the agency’s director of community development, Angie Hubbard, told commissioners that applications for housing assistance have “seriously declined.” She also expressed frustration at cases in which MDHA’s hands are tied because of a HUD rule that doesn’t allow the agency to reimburse flood victims who spent their own money on home repairs before the federal money came in.
“That was very discouraging to us,” Hubbard told The City Paper. “Where we are now, three years from the flood, people are either back in their house through other means that we can’t help, or they’ve walked away. If there are still people out there that may have tried to get a loan or got denied or something like that, or for whatever reason didn’t put any money in, we can still help.”
The reallocated funds are meant to go toward flood mitigation — which could include a promenade and a flood wall — as part of Mayor Karl Dean’s plan to revitalize the west bank of the Cumberland River. Dean’s $300 million capital spending plan, approved last month by the council, included $25 million for the project.