Housing and housing-related projects and programs are a legislatively mandated goal of the NRP. The NRP is required to expend 52.5 percent of the revenues that it receives between 1990 and 2009 in these types of activities. In Phase I, neighborhoods allocated 52 percent of their neighborhood action plan funds to these types of initiatives. Unfortunately, because other expenditures such as the Transition Fund programs in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and the allocation set aside by the City Council for the Youth Coordinating Board expended NRP funds but did not contribute to meeting the housing goal, the percentage that neighborhoods will need to invest in housing and housing-related activities in Phase II will be much higher.
On February 23, NRP Director Bob Miller introduced to the board a new approach for supporting neighborhood housing and housing-related projects and programs. The proposal is designed to reduce administrative costs, address priorities that neighborhoods consistently emphasized in Phase I and facilitate greater leveraging of NRP funds. The proposal would establish seven housing funds into which neighborhoods can contribute Phase I or Phase II funds. Participation by neighborhoods would be strictly voluntary.
The neighborhood contribution would be pooled with the contributions of other neighborhoods in the same general fund. Neighborhood organizations would be able to set their own standards for how these funds can be used. The Miller proposal is very detailed and includes program guidelines for all seven funds. The board agreed that the proposal should be distributed to neighborhoods for their review and comment, and it was suggested and agreed that the complexity of the proposed program merited a greater period of neighborhood review than the 45 days in the board's policy on neighborhood notification. Therefore, a review period of 60 days was agreed to and the Director was authorized to distribute the proposal immediately.
In his comments to the NRP Policy Board, Miller stressed that this proposal was a starting point for decisions about Phase II that must be made in the very near future. Most importantly, he said, giving neighborhoods the opportunity to invest in these funds could give the board an early indication of the amount of housing investment neighborhoods are planning and how much more, if any, will be needed. He emphasized that the creation of these funds is occurring because these are needs that many different neighborhoods identified and the fund approach could result in reduced administrative costs, greater revenues for neighborhoods, and more control of the third party administrators of these programs.
Information on the proposal was sent to neighborhood organization chairs/presidents and staff on Friday, February 27. Comments are due in the NRP office by Friday, May 7. In addition, the Director will be holding two briefings and comment sessions on the proposal. The first briefing will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 25 in CPED Conference Room #3 on the Second Floor of the Crown Roller Mill building, 105 Fifth Ave. S.
The date, time and location of the second session will be announced soon. Keep checking the NRP Web site for continuing coverage on this topic.
Download the entire housing proposal that was presented to the NRP Policy Board on February 23, 2004.