Wells Fargo awarded nearly $240,000 to the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa
for the purchase and rehabilitation of homes in East Tampa.
The grant is part of $11.4 million awarded by the bank to 59 nonprofits in 25 communities nationwide for UrbanLIFT, a housing program to stabilize low-income neighborhoods impacted by the housing crisis. NeighborWorks America
administers the program.
The CDC is one of only three agencies in Florida to receive the grants. The others are Habitat for Humanity of Broward, Inc., and Housing Enterprise of Fort Lauderdale.
"UrbanLIFT funds provided by Wells Fargo
will afford CDC of Tampa the opportunity to extend our hand to the community," says Ernest Coney Jr., the CDC's CEO.
The funds are a "hand-up'' for families that might not otherwise have the opportunity for homeownership," Coney says.
CDC officials will identify three residences within low-income areas of East Tampa, all clustered within a one-mile radius. Needed repairs will be done and then the homes will be offered for sale. These efforts are part of the agency's on-going Nehemiah Legacy Phase II Community Stabilization program.
The CDC's program targets first-time home buyers and offers down payment assistance to qualified applicants. Though it is not required for UrbanLIFT, the CDC offers financial counseling for home owners to prepare them for the responsibilities that come with mortgages, home insurance and maintenance issues.
"When you look at economic and community development, one of our main pillars is homeownership where there is buy-in of the neighborhood," says Julie Rocco, the CDC's special projects manager. "There is a feeling that this is my neighborhood, I want to clean it up and make it safer."
For more than 25 years the CDC of Tampa has served the East Tampa community through career counseling, business planning, homeownership workshops, job training, job placement and youth programs. The agency, which is located at 1907 E. Hillsborough Ave., also partners with area contractors to build affordable housing, and commercial projects.
In agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wells Fargo provides funds for community housing programs including NeighborhoodLIFT and CityLIFT. Along with UrbanLIFT, grants of more than $180 million have been awarded since 2012. More than 5,000 homeowners have received down payment assistance and homebuyer education.
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Ernest Coney, Julie Rocco, CDC of Tampa