$50 Million Grant Enables Rehab Of Pinellas, Pasco Homes And Creates Jobs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $50 million to the Florida Suncoast Housing Partners, a consortium of a Florida nonprofit called Neighborhood Lending Partners and its nine member banks in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

The money will be used to buy and rehab or demolish foreclosed and abandoned homes in Pinellas and Pasco counties to help neighborhoods recover from the housing crisis. A few of the cities that will be served: Largo, Clearwater, Dade City, Zephyrhills, Holiday, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin and parts of East Lake and Palm Harbor.

The consortium is receiving funds under the Neighborhood Stabilization 2 program as part of the $2 billion Recovery Act funding to states, local governments and nonprofit housing agencies in an effort to encourage economic development in hard-hit communities.

"The purpose of the grant is to really stabilize the neighborhoods that were significantly hurt by this economic downtown," says Debra Reyes, president and chief executive officer of Neighborhood Lending Partners. Neighborhood Lending Partners is headquartered in Tampa and serves the entire state.

Funds are also available for homebuyer assistance and special-needs housing.

The following banks are participating in the loan programs:
• First Community Bank of America: $1,500,000/$500,000 for each of three years
• First National Bank of Pasco: $3,000,000/$1,000,000 for each of three years
• Flagship Community Bank: $1,500,000/$500,000 for each of three years
• Florida Capital Bank: $1,500,000/$500,000 for each of three years
• Florida Traditions Bank: $2,250,000/$750,000 for each of three years
• Raymond James Bank: $3,000,000/$1,000,000 for each of three years
• RBC Centura: $1,500,000/$500,000 for each of three years
• Seaside Bank: $2,250,000/$750,000 for each of three years
• Synovus Bank: $1,500,000/$500,000 for each of three years

The influx of grant money is expected to spur the creation of new jobs and provide work for many people, particularly appraisal and engineering firms. Neighborhood Lending Partners expects to hire up to three people in coming months for compliance opportunities.

Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Debra Reyes, Neighborhood Lending Partners

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