Federal funding, community support grants and private donations administered by the city of Allen helped provide safe and stable housing to 180 households last year.
Allen’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program offers home repairs, rent and utility assistance and other community support to Allen residents who meet income guidelines. All funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
To qualify for the funding, city leaders must approve and review 5-year strategic plans along with annual performance evaluations. In 2019-2020, Allen’s CDBG program funded:
12 full rehab projects
9 urgent repairs, including HVAC repairs
Rent and utility assistance for 114 Allen households
Consultations with 21 individuals on affordable housing, home ownership, fair-housing laws and lead-based paint
Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, the city continued working with local volunteers in Live.Love.Allen. This program helps homeowners address code enforcement complaints, such as dead trees or overgrown grass, when they lack the funding or physical ability to complete the work themselves. In 2019-20, Live.Love.Allen. completed 24 projects for Allen families.
“What really blew my mind when I pulled these numbers together is, even in the midst of COVID, we saw an increase of 71 volunteers and 386 [service] hours compared to last year,” said Erin Jones, planning manager for the city of Allen. “As soon as volunteers could safely start doing new projects again, they engaged and got right back out there.”
Along with city funds, Allen helped administer donations from Happy State Bank and Prosperity Bank, which helped cover the cost of seven repair projects, including fence removal and reconstruction.
Through leveraging donations, federal grants and volunteer labor, Jones told Allen City Council during a Nov. 10 presentation that the city is able to stretch dollars its dollars to make the most of every project.
“(One project) included a deteriorating chain link fence and massively overgrown tree,” Jones said. “Staff worked with a Live.Love.Allen. group to remove the fence and trees, which saved to $300-400 in labor that we were able to put back into the project.”
In addition, the city provided $83,264 in Community Support Grants to four agencies helping Allen residents: Family Promise of Collin County, CASA of Collin County, Meals on Wheels of Collin County and Change the World.