This post is also available in: Spanish
Our guest blogger today is Gloria Shanahan, HUD’s Miami Field Office
Recently, local headlines in the City of Opa-Locka, Florida may cause some to think twice before walking into its neighborhoods. This small city near Miami is struggling during the economic downturn. For years it was easier to give up hope than to tackle the enormity of the needs, including problems associated with a spike in home foreclosures and the potential blight these properties pose to the community. But thanks to the Recovery Act the city is seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Several organizations came together and applied for HUD funds under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). After the competition, HUD awarded Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida Consortium $89 million to breathe new life into Opa-Locka’s troubled neighborhoods.
Last week, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Mercedes Mãrquez visited the city to see for herself how the Recovery Act is changing the city. Marquez said, “When the money is where it needs to be, it will help the people who need it the most.”
Hope is returning to Opa-Locka. It is arriving with the smiles of Melanio Rojas and his family as they work to buy a home of their own. Within a few blocks, six other homes are being renovated and will be sold to families ready to care for them. Families, who already own homes in the neighborhood are receiving assistance to repair roofs, replace windows and paint their homes so that they may feel at home in the City of Opa-Locka.
I guess the lesson is, never give up hope!