The city of Kissimmee’s Development Services Department is seeking input from residents as part of the revision process for its Five Year Comprehensive Plan. The plan is used to determine how annual federal funding should be spent from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) programs.
Three meetings were held during the month of February to provide residents an in-depth briefing on the two programs and the city’s process for receiving community input. The primary method for residents to make their preferences known is a short survey, in both English and Spanish, on the city’s website. The survey will be active through June 30, according to Frances DeJesus, housing and community development program coordinator for the city.
Both programs provide funding based on a formula that incorporates both population and economic factors, such as the number of households below an average income level.
“We also need our residents to respond to the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, since our funding is based on population,” DeJesus said.
Cities and counties receive funds annually. The CDBG program’s primary goal is to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. Over the last five years, the city has received between $550,00 and $650,000 each year, and has focused those funds on job training for qualifying homeless and low-income residents, mainly through nonprofit partners such as Community Vision. Funding for a city Code Enforcement officer has also been a past use for CDBG funds.
The HOME program provides funding for acquiring, developing, and rehabilitating affordable housing for rent and homeownership and providing direct rental assistance to low- income families. The city of Kissimmee has received between $250,00 and $300,000 annually and has chosen to combine its funds with Osceola County in a consortium to increase the overall impact of the funds. The city accessed 35 percent of the total funds between the city and county. Along with the unrelated State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program, the consortium has purchased and renovated several distressed homes and properties, which both eliminated blight and provided affordable housing options for residents. In the past, the city donated two units on King Street to the Osceola Council on Aging to be rented to low-income households. Recently, HOME funds were dedicated to construction funding for Vineland Landings, 200 apartments opened in 2019, with eleven of those units dedicated as affordable housing. In 2020, funds are being used to rehabilitate Oak Leaf Landings to provide additional affordable senior housing.
For more information on the Five Year Plan and to access the survey, go to www.kissimmee.org/plan
Beginning in mid-March, homes across the country will begin receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you can respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. For more information, go to https://2020census.gov/
“We also need our residents to respond to the upcoming 2020 U. S . Census, since our funding is based on population.”
-FRANCES DEJESUS, Housing and Community Development Coordinator