Several local government and housing officials gathered recently on the porch of a new duplex to help the Cleveland/Bradley Housing Association cut the ribbon of the new rental units for low- to moderate- income families.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency awarded Cleveland/Bradley Housing Association $500,000 in 2009 to build six housing units. The new dwellings include two duplexes and two single-family houses. The housing is located on Dooley Street, Gaut Street and 16th Street. The two 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom and two-bath duplexes on Dooley are the last of the six units.
“We have been awarded grants through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency since our inception,” Bradley/Cleveland Community Services Agency Executive Director Demetrius Ramsey said. “Future opportunities are contingent upon funding. We would love to and we do have plans, but it obviously depends on continued grants or other funders.”
THDA began the grant program and the local agency received its first grant the following year in 1993. Future grants are almost certain to become more competitive as governments on all levels continue to make cutbacks.
THDA Housing Program Manager Mia Billingsley said the organization has been focusing more on rental housing in the past couple of years.
“Rental housing is probably going to be affected some, but we hope not a whole lot,” she said.
Ramsey said future construction is contingent upon funding through Cleveland/Bradley Housing Association. The housing association has a strong partnership with Cleveland Housing Authority that refers clients to them who fall under Section 8 guidelines. The housing association also has eight houses in McMinn County, so the Etowah Housing Authority makes housing referrals. Overall, the association has 48 units in McMinn and Bradley counties.
Ramsey said the economy has forced former homeowners to seek rental assistance from the agency.
“Housing is always among the top when we complete our annual needs assessment,” Ramsey said. “The need is highest among seniors and other low-income families.”
Billingsley said in addition to the housing grants, her agency also provides grant funding to counties for renovation assistance for homeowners.
“The majority of people we serve in that particular area are elderly,” Billingsley said. “Most of the people in our rental houses are working single parents.”