BELFAST — City Councilors accepted Community Development Block Grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development June 15 for Developers Collaborative’s proposed Congress Street Housing Development and building façade improvements to sub-grantees.
The city applied for the Housing Assistance Grant on behalf of Developers Collaborative so the company can increase its chances of being awarded affordable housing tax credits by the state. The city was awarded the full $500,000 it applied for.

Stiff competition for funds last year prevented the company from being awarded the tax credits, Laura Reading of Developers Collaborative told city councilors at a January work session. The tax credits are awarded based on a points scale, and the grant increases the development’s score by three points.
Councilor Mike Hurley said he thinks the award is a great show of support. “I’m really excited about 48 new units in Belfast and I’m really hoping this happens,” he said.

The company can use the funds for “soft costs,” such as permit fees, engineering services, architectural services, environmental reports and the  like, Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge said.

The city also received another $100,000 Community Enterprise Grant to help local property owners update building façades. The city received the same amount of funding last year, but demand for them from business and building owners exceeded the money available.

The funds can be used to eliminate blighted conditions on building fronts, Kittredge said. Councilors also approved reappointing members to the Community Development Advisory Committee to issue the Enterprise Grant funds to property owners who apply for them.

For more information on how to apply for the grants, Kittredge can be contacted at economicdevelopment@cityofbelfast.org.

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