Community Development Block Grant
Little Rock, AR - Mayor Jim Dailey
Model Block Program
Little Rock's Model Block Program encourages homeownership, conserves developed neighborhoods and preserves the community's sound housing stock. Its ultimate goals are to bring every structure up to City code standards and provide new construction on every vacant lot - and CDBG is the key to reaching these goals.
Through the CDBG citizen participation process, a concentrated geographic area or block is chosen as a Model Block. The City uses existing rehabilitation programs, new construction programs and CDBG-funded infrastructure projects to improve every property on the designated block. In the Model Block, the City constructs sidewalks, installs street lights and improves streets by widening and resurfacing them and installing curbs and gutters. Throughout the development process, the City attempts to preserve the character of the neighborhoods affected by constructing homes that reflect the architectural style of others in the area.
CDBG funds are used to purchase vacant lots on which new affordable homes will be constructed, to improve the infrastructure around them, and to leverage private investment in the designated Model Block and in adjacent areas as well.
Currently, there are eight designated Model Blocks in the City. In an effort to increase the safety and security of some of these areas, Neighborhood Alert Centers have been established; these house police officers, code enforcement officers and facilitators who serve the neighborhood in a variety of ways.
In each of the Model Blocks, special assistance such as increased subsidies (i.e., HOME funds) and forgivable loans are available to eligible homeowners. This assistance is offered to low-income buyers seeking a home and/or families who own and occupy a home which needs repairs in order to restore its safety, comfort and appearance. CDBG funds also are available to low-income buyers through Home Buyer Assistance Grants; provided by the City, these grants pay up to half the down payment, closing and prepaid costs (up to a maximum of $2,000) to help a low-income individual or family purchase a home.
The success of Little Rock's Model Block Program is reflected in its adaptation by other cities throughout the nation and in its recognition by publications such as The Washington Monthly.
Contact: Victor Turner, Community Development Planner, Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs (501) 371-6825
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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