Lacey City Council approves more than $800,000 in community spending

Block grant funds will go to Community Youth Services, Community Action Council, others

Staff writerMarch 20, 2014 

The Lacey City Council Thursday night approved spending more than $800,000 on five of seven community organizations that pitched their project proposals to the council last week.

Thursday’s meeting was a work session, a time when the council typically discusses city business but doesn’t take action.

But after hearing the seven proposals last week, followed by a thorough discussion at the work session, the council went ahead and voted to approve spending $836,510 in community development block grant funds.

The funding comes courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Councilman Jason Hearn recused himself from the work session because he is involved with low-income housing.

Here’s who got funded:

-Community Youth Services: $46,879 for transitional housing weatherization and upgrades.

-Homes First!: $250,000 for affordable rental housing in Lacey.

-Housing Authority of Thurston County: $382,786 for an affordable housing project on East St., Lacey.

-Community Action Council: $88,116 to help neglected and abused children.

-South Puget Sound Community College: $68,729 for a program called “Camo to Credit,” which aims to help low-to-moderate income personnel leaving Joint Base Lewis-McChord gain an associate’s degree or certificate of completion.

Community Youth Services, Homes First! and Community Action Council received 100 percent of their funding requests. The Housing Authority and SPSCC received partial funding. 

Catholic Community Services, which had sought $70,650 for homeless outreach services, and Enterprise for Equity, which had sought $62,500 for its continuing efforts to help those with low-income backgrounds become entrepreneurs, did not get funded.

Council members said throughout the work session that they wished they could have funded every organization.

“It was a tough, tough decision,” Mayor Andy Ryder said.

Enterprise for Equity Executive Director Lisa Smith said after the work session that it would have been great to have received funding, but she couldn’t disagree with the council’s decision, saying she admires all of those organizations.

“We need to work harder and show that our work will yield great things for Lacey,” she said.

The Housing Authority of Thurston County had sought $662,800 to purchase two, four-plex housing units. Councilman Jeff Gadman, who works in the Thurston County Assessor’s Office as an appraisal division manager, questioned whether the organization couldn’t find a better deal.

But Housing Authority Deputy Director Bob Ricks said after the work session that it wasn’t that simple, partly because the seller has to agree to wait six or seven months for HUD to do its review before the transaction can close.

A typical property sale closes in 90 days, he said.

“We’re happy with what we received and can still make it work,” Ricks said, adding that they can make up the difference in funding with private financing.

 

Rolf Boone rboone@theolympian.com 360-754-5403

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