State funds will address housing needs

Published 12:34 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GATESVILLE – Governmental agencies do not write big checks without first knowing of a precise plan on how that money will be spent.

Apparently, Gates County local government officials did their homework and were able to secure $100,000 in an effort to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

Earlier this month the Community Investment and Assistance division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce approved Gates County’s application for $100,000. The money is first obligated to perform a housing needs assessment before any funds can target specific projects. Two public hearings are required before the grant funding is spent.

Gates County officials are no strangers to the dire needs in the way of housing repairs/renovations. They have met as far back as 2008 where a Housing Committee was established, “town hall” type meetings were held to gauge the needs of the public and local citizens/county churches joined the effort.

“The Housing Committee of Gates County addresses the housing needs of our citizens that are low income, disabled or elderly. We’ve been addressing those needs over the last couple of years,” said Commissioner Henry Jordan, who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Housing Committee.

Jordan said, to date, there are approximately 40 or more recipients of the committee’s work, addressing such needs as roof repairs, bathroom renovations/repairs, flooring repairs, etc.

“We have focused on things that need to be done to make a house safe,” Jordan noted.

He added that the county was made aware of the opportunity to apply for the $100,000 capacity building grant in their ongoing effort to locate resources that address housing needs. Jordan said that one of the grant requirements is to identify how the county intends to address housing needs and how they can expand on taking care of those needs in the future.

“The Housing Committee is in the process of addressing that; we have a housing coordinator and we are overjoyed that this grant was awarded to Gates County,” Jordan said. “We think this will be of a great benefit to the county in helping those in need with housing assistance.”

With a deadline of 30 days to act on accepting the conditions of the grant (set forth on Aug. 22), Jordan asked his board colleagues to approve the grant at their Sept. 7 meeting.

With that said, Jordan motioned to accept the grant, which was seconded by Commissioner Jack Owens. The motion was approved without objection.

“As the vice-chair of the Housing Committee we will be diligently working on our future plan and how to put this grant to work for the county,” Jordan said.

“Henry has done a lot of work on this grant; he worked closely with the county manager to make this happen and we need to let the public know that a lot of the credit for this needs to go to Commissioner Jordan,” Owens said.

Owen continued, “What is happening here is that we are getting on the radar. We are making contacts with people in Raleigh and other places that are making us aware of grants such as this. Things like this don’t just happen out of the blue. These opportunities are seized through the relationships we are building, the great service we’re getting from Mike Scott (of the Albemarle Commission), by (Gates County Manager) Toby (Chappell) keeping his eyes open and sharing these things with us. Thank you Henry for all your hard work.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal