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Nye County in midst of 2022 block grant cycle

At the start of each new fiscal year, Nye County embarks on the process necessary to obtain funding through the Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, program, which provides the opportunity for both the county itself and other entities to submit applications for the program and right now, Nye County is in the midst of that process.

The first of four public hearings held on the CDBG program was hosted in July, giving an overview of the program and its requirements. As detailed by Nye County Grants Administrator Samantha Kramer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has made around $3 million available to Nevada for fiscal year 2021-2022. Eligible projects include those that provide affordable housing, community stabilization, public facilities and infrastructure, public services, economic development and community planning and building capacity. The goal is to have these projects benefit low-and moderate-income persons, aid in the prevention of slums or blight and meet urgent community development needs.

The second of the four public hearings was held on Tuesday, Aug. 17 and this was the first in which potential projects were to be presented.

“To recap, Nye County can submit two applications and sponsor two applications,” Kramer stated, noting that at that time, there was only one proposed project submitted by an outside entity for the program.

Bob Cleveland, executive director of Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, was on hand to discuss the application submitted by his organization.

“For 27 years we have provided critical home repairs to homeowners that are low-income seniors, veterans and those with disabilities,” Cleveland explained. “In those 27 years, we have assisted over 7,500 homeowners in Southern Nevada. Recently, we have been blessed to be awarded from HUD, through our national office, a rural capacity building grant that will allow us to expand our services in the rural parts of Southern Nevada that we have not touched previously.”

Cleveland detailed that Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada offers critical home repair services, including the replacement of HVAC systems, roofs, water heaters and other household components necessary for a safe and healthy home. In addition, the organization does accessibility modifications for those who are disabled.

“These repairs allow our clients to safely age in place and also maintain the affordable housing stock, which you guys know is a separate crisis but they do tie together. If we can keep them in their homes, that’s one less house we have to build,” Cleveland stated. “Our average client is 70 years old and lives on a fixed income of under $16,000 per year. Without our services, many of them would be forced out of their homes and into assisted living or other government funded homes. The cost of our repairs can be up to $10,000 while assisted living is approximately $35,000 per year, per person displaced. This is an investment in our future. We’re all better off having our low-income clients age safely in place in their homes rather than some type of government housing.”

Cleveland said there are two specific “census tracks” in the Pahrump Valley that will be the subject of Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada’s local efforts, as these areas are populated by a high percentage of low-income persons.

“We’ll be focusing on the Anchor Inn Mobile Home Park, the Big Valley Mobile Home Park, the Liberty Estates Mobile Home Park and the Pahrump Mobile Home Park. That’s where we will start our outreach and we will go from there,” Cleveland said.

He noted that in addition to the critical repairs side of Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, any and all of those homeowners who reach out while the organization is in the area will also be able to receive free replacement of smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and the installation of fire extinguishers, grab bars, safety rails, etc.

“None of our programs have any cost (to homeowners) at all,” Cleveland emphasized.

Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada is requesting a total of $90,000 from the CDBG program via a Nye County sponsored application but that is not the only funding Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada is set to utilize. Cleveland added that the organization has already received $65,000 from the state of Nevada for Pahrump and Mesquite and they are seeking rural grants from the Nevada Division of Housing as well.

The commission then opened the floor to others to provide presentations. However, there were no potential applicants stepping forward that morning, prompting commission chair Debra Strickland to remark, “All right, you got any projects? We want to hear it… This is where we need your (public’s) outreach. We get these grants, we need to know what we need in our community and we’d appreciate your help with that.”

Anyone with a project in mind that might prove eligible for the CDBG program is encouraged to reach out to Kramer to discuss the project and receive a preliminary application for presentation to the commission at its next meeting, set for Wednesday, Sept. 8. Once all projects have been presented, the fourth and final public hearing in the CDBG process will be held in November, when commissioners will prioritize the projects.

Kramer can be reached at sakramer@co.nye.nv.us or by calling 775-751-7091.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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