Conroe accepts 2019 Annual Action Plan, HUD grant

The city of Conroe will continue a program that has already rehabilitated 63 downtown Conroe homes.

At the June 13 meeting, Conroe City Council unanimously adopted the Community Development Block Grant 2019 Annual Action Plan, which includes authorizing city officials to accept and use the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The CDBG plan is Conroe's federal grant program intended to build or reconstruct houses for low-income citizens. The annual action plan is not due until August, but this marks the next step in the process, said Nancy Mikeska, the Conroe director of community management, at the June 12 workshop.

After the meeting, Mikeska said federal grant funds have been used on 63 buildings downtown since the beginning of the program in 1999.

"We have five houses on the ground right now. They're coming along; we were set back at the beginning of the year with the rain," Mikeska said at the workshop. "We're moving forward with the houses [but are] a couple months out."

The five homes under construction are part of the 2018 CDBG housing reconstruction project, costing $490,000.

She said about 30 people are still on the list for a home, from which her department works from the top down as people qualify.

"They have to get on the list, be in the target area, ... [and] have to be qualified by HUD guidelines," Mikeska said.

She said the program is funded through a deferred Section 108 loan guarantee from many investors who follow program guidelines.

"We promised our citizens that we would use no tax dollars to pay back that loan, so we use CDBG money," Mikeska said. "We only have one family in an apartment, we're in good shape over there, and we'll get these [houses] finished up in the next couple of months."

At the workshop, Council Member Jody Czajkoski asked if the program accepts private investors, to which the answer was yes.

"Let's get together and see if we can help another family," Czajkoski said.
By Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.


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