A grant currently being pursued by Laurinburg Planning Director Brandi Deese could be a “shot in the arm” for housing the city.
Available through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the NC Catalyst Grant could bring a half million dollars to Laurinburg for revitalizing shabby area housing.
“It could really help us go through and do rehabilitation and revitalization in certain areas,” Deese said.
With a deadline in November, Deese is working with Adrian Lowery of the Lumber River Council of Governments to complete the application.
It was Lowery who presented the grant to city council at its September meeting.
“Because we have a small staff here they are working with us to get the application together,” Deese said.
Included among the neighborhoods likely to benefit from the grant are the housing areas near Glen Acres, Park Drive and New Town.
The grant could be used to do demolition or to build new units in that area, Deese said.
Assisting with the rehab and building will be Susan Covington of the local Habitat for Humanity Office.
Homeowners in the area of Laurinburg identified for revitalization can expect to receive applications in the mail from the city before the end of the month inviting them to submit properties for review.
“In some cases the (homes) may cost too much to rehab or may be too far gone – our plan is to take the money and use it as wisely as possible,” Deese said.
A secondary effect of the grant program may be to reduce crime, which Deese said is promoted by substandard housing.
The grant money may also help the city save some cash, as it is likely that some of the houses that will be rehabbed or demolished were already on the list of houses to be condemned and destroyed through the city.
The condemnation program has already spent the $30,000 it was budgeted for the 2012-13 financial year demolishing 15 homes in the city.