$29.5 million grant to rebuild distressed Cincinnati housing

AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - U.S. Housing and Urban Development awarded a $29.5 million grant to help rebuild Cincinnati housing on Thursday.

Community Builders, Inc.,TCB, in Boston will receive the grant to redevelop distressed housing in Cincinnati and bring revitalization to the Avondale community.

TCB Senior Project Manager Jeff Beam says many of the buildings have been neglected for years. "This portfolio of buildings is one of most physically distressed we've ever seen and so there's a lot of work to address long standing health hazards, to address structural issues, to address basically concerns about livability."

Livability is a main concern of the Avondale Community Council President Patricia Milton. "The revitalization of Avondale has been going on for about seven years, but this is going to make a great impact."

Jaimee McClure lives in an apartment building at Reading and Blair and says she looks forward to the renovations. "By them redoing it will bring the crime rate down from over here."

McClure says the building is in terrible  condition. "I have a hole in my ceiling in my bathroom that's been there for four months, a hole in my kitchen where the kitchen ceiling is getting ready to fall in."

Senator Sherrod Brown, (D) OH, helped to secure the grant money. "Government has a responsibility to partner with local communities and local officials and local businesses  to help when government can."

TCB will address some the pressing health safety issues right after the beginning of the year and major renovations will begin in six to nine months.

In a press release, HUD stated that the initial grant is expected to generate an additional $45 million in private investments and commitments from local jurisdictions and partners.

Cincinnati was selected from a group of nine finalists as a part of HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (Choice). Choice is a landmark initiative that promotes transforming areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods.  It is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which strives to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

"These grants to Cincinnati will turn the page to a more promising future for the families who currently live in this housing and the surrounding community and for future generations," said HUD's Midwest regional manager Antonio Riley.  "Choice Neighborhoods promises to open doors to more opportunity."

In addition to Cincinnati, Choice will help transform distressed communities in San Antonio, Seattle and Tampa.

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