YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The City of Youngstown’s Community Development Division is applying for funding that was recently announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address issues surrounding affordable housing.
The Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) program plans to provide $85 million in competitive grant funding for communities across the country to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation.
Only 20 projects will receive federal funding through this competitive grant.
City officials presented their plans during a public meeting over Zoom on Thursday. Part of a requirement to apply for the funding is to give the community an opportunity to comment on the plans.
A draft of the city’s application is available on its website, and questions and comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city is applying for $10 million to be used for increasing home ownership as well as affordable rentals in the city.
The city plans to use the funding to develop a low-interest loan to offset the costs of building, buying or rehabilitating homes.
In addition, city officials say they would look at updating the city’s housing code to allow for missing middle-type housing that is more compatible with Youngstown’s historic neighborhoods. The city would hire a consultant to revise the existing code and create overlay districts to provide more latitude in housing typologies, density and parking restrictions, according to its application.
According to the city’s presentation, the city’s population dropped to about 60,000 people from around 160,000 in the 1950s, leaving the area with a lot of old housing stock, much of which has been demolished. There have not been a lot of new builds, which the funding would seek to address.
As part of that, if the city obtains the funding, city officials would develop an acquisition fund to allow the Land Bank to purchase more vacant buildings and properties in high-opportunity areas to allow for redevelopment.
Funding would also be used to make improvements to infrastructure in key target areas. Improvements could include water main, stormwater and sewer, and electrical service updates.
The deadline for the PRO Housing Program applications is Oct. 30.