City officials got some relatively good news in early March: Federal housing funding for Wichita will be cut by 5 percent this year, not the 8 percent originally feared.
So council members will open a 30-day public comment period on that funding Tuesday, when approval is expected to be given to a variety of programs to help low-income Wichitans find and maintain housing.
City officials feared massive federal cuts in the program late last year, Vice Mayor Janet Miller said, making a variety of essential housing services almost impossible to maintain.
City staff is estimating funding at just under $4 million — $2,364,171 in Community Development Block Grant money, $223,388 in Emergency Solutions grant funding and $1,125,571 for HOME Investment partnerships.
The balance of the cut comes in CDBG money, about $205,000.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Miller said. “We think we can progress with the programs we have in place. It’s just a reflection of today’s economy, especially the world of federal funding.
The programs include:
• Housing services, including funding for repair, renovations and long-term remodeling projects including major heating and air conditioning, weatherization, roofs and energy improvements. These programs are designed to keep low-income residents in their homes.
• Summer youth employment programs targeting the 14- and 15-year-old teenagers living in public housing.
• Construction money for Mennonite Housing and Power CDC to build homes for lower income families.
• Funding for the city’s neighborhood city halls, which offer services to citizens in each council district.
• Services for domestic violence victims.
• Youth crime prevention programs.
Tuesday’s expected first council vote will open a month-long public comment period, after which the council will vote in late April for final approval of the program funding.