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Housing agency sees growing need for assistance

By Moneth G. Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 1, 2008) –The Northern Marianas Housing Corp. [NMHC] says its records and statistics indicated that more than four-fifths of commonwealth residents are low-and-moderate-income individuals.

NMHC did not provide figures but said there’s a need to continuously help these families through federally funded housing assistance.

NMHC corporate director Joshua T. Sasamoto has asked lawmakers to introduce a joint resolution authorizing the CNMI government, through the governor, to submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development three grant applications for community assistance.

NMHC is the lead agency responsible for submitting grant applications to HUD.

NMHC has to submit a joint legislative resolution with the grant application package which must be approved by the governor for submission to the HUD Honolulu office by Aug. 15, 2008.

The application package needs the governor’s review and approval no later than Aug. 4.

Sasamoto, in his letter to the Senate, said virtually every community in the CNMI is in need of assistance.

"The commonwealth’s dire need for [Community Development Block Grant] assistance is supported by statistics which show that more than four-fifths of commonwealth residents are persons of low-and-moderate-income under HUD standards," according to the draft resolution submitted by NMHC to the Senate.

The agency received $2,020,822 million from HUD for program year 2008.

NMHC wants to apply for $2 million in new HUD assistance — $1.3 million in Community Development Block Grants; $583,259 for the HOME program; and $62,884 for emergency shelter assistance.

Community Development Block Grants are used to revitalize neighborhoods, expand affordable housing and economic opportunities and improve community facilities and public services.

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