VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta is planning to refocus hundreds of thousands of dollars into housing assistance for its residents.
Every year, the Housing and Urban Development Department typically allocates about $500,000 for the city’s Community Development Block Grant.
That money could affect many things, but this year they are focusing the majority of it on housing.
“Since our population dictates pretty much that we need to focus on affordable housing, the greater majority of our funding goes to that type of project," said Neighborhood Development Director Vanassa Flucas.
The City of Valdosta is focusing more funds on housing and making changes to its Affordable Housing Repair program.
This comes after a few suggestions to make the program more efficient from the Housing and Urban Development Department.
“They suggested some things that would, not only keep our program in compliance, but would also make it a lot easier and make it to where we could assist more families with that program," explained Flucas.
One of those things includes addressing some issues with some of the programs being too vague in their intentions.
“So, they said in order to make sure that there’s no question about the services and the families that we’re providing services for, we need to make some changes. So, that we did," said Flucas.
One of the major things that changed was the program’s application system.
It will now operate on what officials described as a first come, first serve, first qualified basis.
“Just because you brought in your application on the first day that the application period opened, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the first family assisted. That is always on an individual basis," said Flucas.
In the past, they would accept incomplete applications, which many believed held their place in line while people got their affairs in order. City workers said that is a thing of the past.
“It’s a lot of work that has to be done on our part, but it is a lot of work that has to be done on the part of the homeowner to make sure that everything they have is in place and it’s the way it needs to be," said Flucas.
This year, they are also adding an option for housing repairs for emergency assistance, for those that do not need a complete home rehab or a reconstruction.
“For some of these people, it can be just a matter of needing roofing work or their home has gotten older and they’re on a fixed income. They may need heating and air conditioning work, they may need plumbing work," said Flucas.
If you live in Valdosta and want to see if you qualify for the assistance of this program, you can contact the city.