Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise is the first organization in Hamilton County to participate in the HHF Blight Elimination Program (BEP). Tennessee’s HHF Blight Elimination Program is administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) and funded by the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF).
“As houses deteriorate, they create an unsafe environment for residents and add blight to neighborhoods,” says Martina Guilfoil, president and CEO of CNE. “We see the BEP funds as an opportunity to create new affordable housing in Chattanooga.”
An abandoned home in Highland Park was demolished on Tuesday to make way for newly constructed affordable housing.
“We’re thrilled to be able to put these Treasury dollars to use in neighborhoods where one or two abandoned houses are dragging down everyone else’s property values and creating serious safety concerns as well,” said Ralph M. Perrey, executive director of THDA.
Under the Blight Elimination Program, qualified nonprofits and land banks can apply for loans of up to $25,000 to cover the cost of acquiring a blighted abandoned home, demolishing it, greening the property and maintaining the vacant lot. The greened lot can then be transformed into new affordable housing or another use approved by THDA for the stabilization of the surrounding neighborhood. THDA monitors the completion of each project and forgives the loan after three years, or sooner for certain uses.
THDA has been approved to allocate $10 million of recycled HHF program dollars for the Blight Elimination Program.
Hamilton County is one of seven where Blight Elimination Program funds are available. The other counties are Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Montgomery, Anderson, and Rutherford.
The deadline for nonprofits to apply for funding is Dec. 31, 2020. Complete details of the Blight Elimination Program are available at https://thda.org/business-partners/bep.