NICEVILLE, Fla. (WKRG) — A state program called the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awarded $35 million in funds for 48 cities in Florida. Niceville is the only Okaloosa County city on that list with $700,000 to go to helping folks fix or rebuild their homes.
Financial employee Tricia Greene said Niceville applied for the funding in the spring of 2021. Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the grants on Dec. 21, 2022.
“Making investments in our small communities helps build opportunities for generations to come,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am proud to make these awards to 48 communities throughout the state to help them build economic resiliency and strengthen their communities.”
This is not the first time Niceville has received the CDBG. Greene said in the last round of funds a city staff member was able to have his home torn down and rebuilt.
“In the past, they have built homes. Say for example if the house is in too bad of shape, they will build a standardized home comparable to what they had before. If they live in mobile homes, we have bought like 3 or 4 mobile homes for people,” said Greene. “We have rehabbed homes with new roofs or new wiring. It just depends on what the condition is of the house at the time.”
There are some rules with the grant funds.
“You’ve got to be the homeowner. You got to have insurance just little things like that. You got to be within the income realm of things in order to qualify. So it is for low to moderate-income and if selected they do an assessment of the house,” said Greene. “It is a grant and it is nothing that they have to pay back. A lot of people think that it’s something they have to pay back and as long as you stay in your house for five years and don’t sell it and keep insurance on it, you do not have to pay.”
Greene said the initial 10 recipients for the grant have not yet been chosen. The state will release applications for the funds in the spring of 2023. Those application packets can be picked up at city hall.
“If they have money leftover because somebody’s house wasn’t that bad, then they will add in an additional home or two,” said Greene. “This grant will not be completed until probably December of next year.”
CDBG is more than home repair funding. The program offers grants for water and sewer improvements, street and sidewalk improvements, economic development activities that create jobs for low-and moderate-income people, downtown revitalization, including facade improvements, streetscaping and underground utilities, park facilities and community centers, and drainage/stormwater Improvements.
Learn more about the CDBG program online.