Durham, N.C. - Last month, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) General Deputy Assistant Secretary Dominique Blom joined Congressman David Price to celebrate the award of the $40M Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) grant award to the City of Durham and the Durham Housing Authority (DHA).
The event was hosted at 519 E. Main Street, one of the public housing properties mentioned in the grant award. 519 East Main, Liberty Street Apartments, and surrounding downtown neighborhoods will directly benefit from the grant. $40M is the maximum grant award for housing developments with fewer than 250 units. Durham is one of four cities to receive a portion of the $180M grant.
CNI grants support communities that have undergone a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to implement their “Transformation Plan” to redevelop the neighborhood. The DHA and the City leveraged an additional $1.5 billion in public and private sources to support the Transformation Plan. This includes $86.2 million for the Housing Plan, $7.69 million for the People Plan, and $1.4 billion for the Neighborhood Plan.
Mayor Elaine O’Neal, a native of Durham, shared, “Downtown is for everyone… My goal as mayor is to make Durham equitable for all so everyone can share in our city’s prosperity.” She described the plan: to use federal funding (CNI grant) leveraged with city funds and private capital to help replace aging public housing with high-quality, affordable, and mixed-income homes. As a result, low-income residents can stay and enjoy the benefits of the revitalized Downtown.
Durham is the second CNI grant recipient in North Carolina Winston-Salem received the first award in fiscal year 2019. “It is very satisfying to bring this program back to life after years of working on the appropriations committee. It’s very satisfying to see two North Carolina communities take full advantage” said Congressman David Price (NC-04), Chairman of the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee. “I am proud of our steady investments in this program in recent years.”
“We have a long way to go. But, when you have committed partners, it makes the road a little bit easier. We are committed for the long haul,” said Reginald Johnson, Director, City of Durham Community Development, as he highlighted the importance of the partnership between the city and the DHA.
“This is the best part of my job… coming out to communities and congratulating them for receiving $40M,” said Blom. Blom was accompanied by the Region IV Deputy Regional Administrator, the Atlanta Field Office Director, and Greensboro field office team members. Blom applauded the collaborative work of the city, DHA, and residents. “This is a time for your vision, your commitment, to be able to come through and develop what this new neighborhood is going to look like.”
The event was well attended by city officials, housing board members, developers, and partners. Residents looked on to listen from their balconies. Beverly Leslie, Resident of 519 East Main, President of Resident Council at 519 East Main Street attended and said, “It makes us happy because we see that it will be rebuilt, and it will be a better, safer environment. We will have an opportunity to come back. And it gives us an opportunity for a better way of life” shared Leslie. She concluded, “Thank you on behalf of the residents. We are happy to have you all here. When you see us again, we will be better.”