A relatively new facet of the CDBG Program is the Community Revitalization Program, which the City of Norfolk has used since 2005. The CDBG funding has allowed Norfolk to purchase and demolish blighted houses, replacing them with new affordable homes for medium- to low-income residents and families.
In 2005, the City of Norfolk and the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District (NENEDD) requested funding for a needs assessment study, a detailed analysis of low-and-moderate income (LMI) residents in the area. The study was instrumental in further developing a three-year Revitalization Strategy for meeting needs identified in a separate needs assessment.
For Norfolk, the three-year strategy involved demolishing 18 housing units (later amended to 12 units). CDBG funding was augmented by the City of Norfolk, which provided financial support for improving streets, water lines, and sewer lines to all properties. During the project’s first phase, six dilapidated homes were demolished and four homes were built and sold, including one Habitat for Humanity house. Phases two and three currently involve demolishing six more blighted homes and building new homes in their place.
“The houses we worked with were once rental properties that fell into disrepair and were eventually abandoned,” said Mitch Borst, Housing Director for NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska in Norfolk. “I can’t tell you how happy neighbors of the abandoned houses, as well as the community in general, were to have new homes in their place.”