City of Valdosta using federal grant money to help fix homes for those in need

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 23, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The City of Valdosta is welcoming families to newly-restored homes.

On Tuesday, the city held a ribbon cutting for a home recently reconstructed using the Community Development Block Grant. The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, helps with neighborhood revitalization and housing improvements.

Emma Jean Bonner moved to her home in 1980, but a car crash just a few years ago brought her life to a halt.

"She hit the car and made it go up on the curb and she went riding, cut around the post and come up and knocked off the corner bedroom that was right here on this corner," she explained.

It forced Bonner out of her home, unable to rebuild due to her fixed income. That is, until the city stepped in using the CDBG funding.

"We have very limited resources for affordable housing, either homes owned or rented," explained Vanessa Flucas, Neighborhood Development Director.

In 2004, the city made it a goal to eliminate substandard housing by 2020 and projects like this help make that happen.

"Every year when you take one or two off of that list that was once substandard, 10 come back on, and our funding is limited," Flucas said. "So, we're doing our best with the funding that we're given to be good stewards, do what's necessary to try and eliminate substandard housing in Valdosta."

The funding helps to keep the community feeling at home, one step at a time.

"I love this location, when you stay at a place so long, the people around here seem like family," Bonner said. "I'm just proud of it, but I don't let it go to my head because God give it and God take it."

The grant funding can be used in different ways to help with neighborhood revitalization, and the rebuilding or reconstructing of homes is just one of those ways.

The city takes applications for the grant every year. The process opens in January. Grant applications are accepted until funding runs out.

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