The North Little Rock City Council on Monday reviewed the city’s 2017 annual action plan. The plan was developed by the city’s planning department.


“Eligible local governments may receive annual grants from community development and affordable housing through application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” reads the executive summary of the report.


Available grants include the Community Development Block Grant and the Home Investment Partnerships (Home) grant. “The CDBG Entitlement Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to entitled cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate income persons.”


The HOME program provides formula grants and is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low income households.


“A city must match community needs to eligible grant activities, and as part of that process, HUD requires grantees to prepare and submit a consolidated plan,” according to the summary.


The City of North Little Rock’s Five-Year Consolidated Plan for years 2016-20 was developed in accordance with federal regulatory requirements.


“The Consolidated Plan is used to outline levels of need in areas of affordable housing, community development, special needs and homelessness,” according to the summary. “This information was gathered through a number of approaches including public outreach, consultants with local agencies, a review of the latest demographics and economic data provided by HUD, and an analysis of market conditions.”


The consolidated planning process serves as a framework for a community-wide dialogue to identify housing and community development priorities that align and focus funding from the grant programs.


“All funding recommendations for activities operated with these grants are evaluated based on the ability to help the city meet the goals outlined in this plan,” continued the summary.


The plan’s objectives are to sustain and revitalize low and moderate income neighborhoods with infrastructure improvements including streets, drainage and sidewalks.


The plan also is designed to improve public facilities and to enhance neighborhoods by serving low to moderate income populations.


The plan also calls for supporting the city’s Fit 2 Live initiative that is designed to create environments that empower the community to adopt healthy life choices such as community gardens.


The plan also calls for the support of the North Little Rock Housing Authority’s (NLRHA) efforts to modernize stock, work with landlords to identify housing opportunities, and maintain and expand housing choice voucher ownership, family self-sufficiency, resident advisory boards, rental assistance demonstrations, and other program initiatives.


The plan also calls for supporting private and non-profit developers in identifying opportunities to utilize low income housing tax credits for the construction of assisted rental housing for low income families and seniors.