The figure for a U.S. Housing and Urban and Development grant given to the county for rehabilitating housing for low-income families was incorrectly reported in yesterday's Anne Arundel County Sun. The correct figure for the grant is $946,000. The Sun regrets the error.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development presented County Executive Robert R. Neall with a $196,000 grant yesterday that will expand a program that renovates housing for low-income families.
Mr. Neall accepted the check during a visit to a neighborhood of small, ramshackle houses on Shesley Road in Mayo, one of the first areas that will benefit from the grant. The visit was one of 15 stops Mr. Neall made during a day-long tour of the Edgewater/Mayo communities.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
"We've got some winning projects, and this is one of them," Mr. Neall said as he stood in front of two Shesley Road houses that will be rebuilt as a result of the grant. Mr. Neall assured HUD officials that there is no shortage of worthy projects in the county. "You won't be getting any money back," he said.
The grant comes from money that was made available after Congress passed the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, which was intended to wean local housing agencies away from building large-scale public housing projects in favor of rehabilitating existing housing.
County officials said the grant would be used to create three new programs. One program would help first-time homebuyers who qualify under the income requirement to buy homes that need minor renovation.
These homes would not normally qualify for conventional mortgage financing, officials said. The prospective buyer's income cannot exceed 80 percent of the Baltimore-area median, which is approximately $35,300 for a family of four.
County housing officials said the grant's most important impact will be felt in a program to provide low-interest loans to landlords to buy or rehabilitate housing that would in turn be rented to low-income families.
Thomas Wu, who owns two houses on Shesley Road, said the program will enable him to rebuild the homes and rent them to the families who now live there.
"I'm working with the county to allow the present tenants to stay after renovation. In other words, they will not be displaced," Mr. Wu said.
He has owned the buildings since 1976, but his tenants have been there a lot longer. "They've lived here, some of them, since 1941," he said. Now he can provide them with much nicer houses without raising the rent.
The final program funded by the grant will build housing for the stable employees at the Laurel Racecourse.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Neall announced that the county will accelerate road improvements at the intersection of Route 2 and Route 253 in Edgewater. The existing narrow roadway has sparked numerous complaints from residents who are continually delayed by traffic tie-ups.
The improvements, which will cost about $500,000 to be paid by the Friendswood Development Company, will include additional turning lanes at the troubled intersection and road re-striping on Route 2 to Pike Ridge Road.
The road work is just the first step in major improvements that are required by county regulations for the housing development and the commercial site at Route 2 and Route 214.