AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo Community Development Department held a meeting to discuss Housing and Urban Development Home ARP Funding.
The meeting was meant to address and answer questions from the community.
“We really the value the input we get from the community,” said Jason Riddlespurger, Director of Community Development for the city of Amarillo. “We want to make sure that what we’re doing is what the community wants, what the community needs. So, the only way we can get that information, is get them to the table and we have a discussion and kind of go at this together”
During the first half of the meeting members of the Community Development Department went over the four eligible uses for funding. They include affordable rental housing, supportive services, tenant-based rental assistance a non-congregate shelter.
It has not yet been decided how the funds will be allocated but one potential project is Transformation Park.
During the meeting, attendees received a presentation on the Transformation Park Project.
“We are coming together to have both a day center and a night shelter,” said Riddlespurger. “We can actually get a wraparound service for the homeless in Amarillo.
According to the Community Development Department Transformation Park, it allows them to provide case management during the day and have a drop in shelter where those in need can get into the shelter immediately.
Part of Transformation Park will house cabins to teach life skills and prepare people for permanent housing.
“We’re actually going to move folks from that initial drop in area over to the cabins,” stated Riddlespurger. “Where we’re going to be teaching them life skills and how to maintain and live in an actual home and then from there, we’re going to work with them to get all the paperwork and all the necessary things to move them into a permanent home.”
The Community Development Department will now move forward in receiving public feedback from Amarillo Citizens. Residents can complete a survey to provide personal input on how they believe the funds should be used.
During public comment, many of the questions focused on how the money would be tracked, a timeline of the remainder of the process and clarification on what the funding can go towards.
Although there was a long list of questions that need answers some residents liked the idea of a potential project and how they will help the community.
“They’re our brothers and sisters, their people, human beings, yea maybe they have screwed up a little bit but they’re human beings,” said Edith Ditommaso. “We need to connect with and as a community, we need to help them.
Some residents are concerned with overall sustainability.
“I’m concerned about um overall making sure that this doesn’t end up being placed in the laps of the taxpayers of Amarillo,” said John Barrett. “That it’s a self-sustaining project and that ultimately we’re not subsidizing this project. I love it, I love the concept.”
Once Community Development finishes collecting surveys on how the money should be spent they will present an allocation plan to City Council. The Allocation Plan will be submitted to HUD on March 31.