Fremont’s (pop. 25,174) citizens are extremely sensitive and focused on giving hand-ups, not hand-outs to lower-income neighbors needing safe, affordable housing. Since 1983 the City has consistently applied for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in a variety of housing categories, to help support and provide available housing options. Most recently, the City participated in the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Comprehensive Revitalization program, receiving $142,900 in CDBG funding to address deteriorating properties in a target area, among other goals. City matching funds were used to improve public work infrastructure throughout the areas as well.
Funds were specifically applied to rehabilitate a number of owner-occupied residences. Several dilapidated properties also were purchased and demolished, clearing the way for the Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity to build a new home for a qualifying low-income family.
“The CR projects have saved us literally thousands of dollars, all of which can be used for building materials and services to provide homes for more families,” said Karen Melang, executive director of Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity.
Funding also made it possible for lower-income homeowners to make structural upgrades that improved homes’ safety, reduced energy use, and improved the overall aesthetics of the neighborhood. “All of us have stronger and safer neighborhoods because of this program,” said Melang.