Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mayor Announces ‘We Are Home’ Rebuilding Assistance Program

$7 million allocated to date to help rebuild homes through public-private partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today announced the launch of a local rebuilding assistance program called We Are Home, which is intended to provide additional funding to help Nashville residents repair their flooded homes when FEMA and SBA are not enough.

“The federal government was swift to respond to this disaster and has been a constant presence in our recovery efforts since,” Dean said. “But the reality is many Nashville homeowners’ needs are beyond the limitations of the available federal disaster assistance. We Are Home is a true public-private partnership that will funnel cash donations to the area of greatest need – helping Nashvillians get back in their homes.

“Helping these homeowners is not only the right thing to do for them, it is the right thing to do for our city. For Nashville to remain the vibrant, economic engine that it is, we have to ensure that all of our neighborhoods recover from this flood.”

We Are Home is a joint effort of Nashville’s private and public sectors, including The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations and Metro Government. The Housing Fund, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects, is administering the program with support from the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and the Mayor’s Flood Recovery Team.

“In the weeks since the flood we have talked to many homeowners who have repair costs well beyond the disaster assistance provided by FEMA and SBA. Through We Are Home all sectors of the community are coming together to help close this gap and get Nashville families back into their homes,” said Loretta Owens, executive director of The Housing Fund.

To date, $7 million has been allocated to support We Are Home, which includes $5.1 million reallocated by the Metro Council from two federal grant programs, $1 million from Regions Bank and $900,000 from two equal grants from The Community Foundation's Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund and its Tennessee Emergency Response Fund. The goal is to identify a total of $50 million – combination of federal grants, citizen donations and private sector contributions – in order to meet all of the anticipated financing needs of Nashville residents.

“As our community moves from stabilization to restoration, from triage to healing, The Community Foundation knows that rebuilding lives, rebuilding homes and rebuilding livelihoods are of paramount importance. To make the precious gifts we have received go as far as possible toward accomplishing these goals, The Community Foundation searches for critical intervention points where we can leverage the funds entrusted to us to make the biggest possible impact on this community’s future,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “We are pleased to partner with the Mayor’s Office and The Housing Fund in helping hundreds and hundreds of Nashvillians restore their homes. We are grateful for the opportunity to connect the continuing generosity of so many donors with the long-term needs of our neighbors and know that much remains to be done.”

Homeowners that apply will be offered assistance through a three-tiered approach that takes into account their individual financial situation and home repair needs:

· First, a 4 percent interest loan will be offered based the individual’s ability to repay with terms ranging from five to 20 years.

· Second, if repair funds are needed beyond an owner’s ability to repay a loan, they will be eligible for a grant up to $10,000.

· Third, if a gap remains after the grant, an owner will be eligible for a 0 percent interest Due-On-Sale loan up to $20,000. The Due-On-Sale loan does not require a monthly payment. Instead, the loan is repaid when the property is sold.

Reconstruction projects that require additional resources beyond these three funding sources will be referred to volunteer rebuilding agencies for assistance, including Hands On Nashville, Habitat for Humanity and various faith-based partners.

Interested homeowners should call (615) 862-6523 to setup an appointment to meet with a housing counselor and fill out an application. Appointments will begin Wednesday, July 7. The We Are Home office is located at 300 11th Ave. S. in the former Velocity sales center. MarketStreet Enterprises provided the office space for the program rent free.

Homeowners will have the opportunity to work with their existing licensed contractors, so long as established contracting procedures are followed. We Are Home is not able to reimburse homeowners for work already completed or for work to portions of their home not impacted by the flood.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee continues to accept donations to support ongoing flood recovery efforts in Davidson County and the other 39 counties of Middle Tennessee. The Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund targets aid to nonprofits serving the needs of Nashville’s response. The Tennessee Emergency Response Fund’s work addresses the wide range of differing needs in all the Middle Tennessee counties The Community Foundation serves. All grants are made to nonprofits, including churches, and are to be used to help rebuild the lives of those affected by disaster. These funds and their grants are in place to serve through the many stages of disaster (response, relief, recovery, and restoration) and remain flexible to respond to emerging and evolving needs. Donations can be made to the disaster response funds at The Community Foundation online by visiting http://www.cfmt.org/

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