The survey shows that homelessness and affordable housing are top priorities for the City of Columbia Commission



The Columbia Housing and Community Development Commission Wednesday discussed key areas of the city that need to be addressed, including homelessness and affordable housing.

According to the Housing and Community Development Needs Survey, the two priorities are a 24-hour service center for the homeless and affordable housing.

The commission also discussed funding requests for several community providers.

The Voluntary Action Center and the Food Bank of North East and Central Missouri are two community providers that have requested funds from the CDBG.

VAC requested $400,000 for its Opportunity Campus, which will include meal services, laundry facilities, a computer lab, medical and dental services, and housing for homeless people. VAC works with several other community providers such as Turning Point and the Columbia Housing Authority.

The Food Bank is requesting the money for their new central Food Bank, which will be located on Business Loop 70. The new food bank will be larger and have cold storage, helping them offer nutritious food to their customers.

Other providers requesting funds include Love Columbia and Services for Independent Living.

The commission also heard a presentation and a request for funding on funding from the city’s Homeownership Assistance (HOA) program.

Housing Authority members will receive $200,000 to continue the program in 2023. The city’s program is designed to help first-time home buyers who meet certain guidelines and may not have the funds for a down payment or other upfront home-buying costs.

Applicants can receive between $5,000 and $10,000 in a 10-year forgivable loan at 0% interest. Columbia will also spend an additional $500 to eliminate lead hazards.

The city expects the funds will help between 20 and 30 households. Columbia will require prospective homeowners to provide at least $500 in cash towards the purchase.

The program offers two expectations for first-time homebuyers, who may include single parents or displaced homemakers.

Prospective homeowners must also find a property within Columbia city limits to qualify for the program.

“The program remains important to the city in stabilizing neighborhoods,” the proposal reads. “The program helps increase property values ​​by increasing homeownership rates in neighborhoods.”

Potential applicants can learn more about the HOA program by contacting the Columbia Community Development Department.


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