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Gary gives two properties to nonprofit

Updated: April 15, 2013 11:23AM



GARY — City officials gave a social service agency free property and a sizable federal grant at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

The board also awarded another contract to a well-known accountant and approved a forgivable $900,000 loan to a nonprofit corporation to help build affordable housing in the 2100 block of Jefferson Street.

The city deeded two properties, at 4246 Jefferson St. and 846 E. 36th Ave., to Continuum of Care Northwest Indiana, an anti-homelessness agency run by Sharon Liggins. Led by the Community Development Department, the city acquired the properties using federal money from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

According to the contract with Continuum of Care, the property is to be used as an affordable rental property.

Continuum of Care also landed a $370,330 grant in federal money from Community Development. The money is to be used to help Gary residents in financial difficulty pay for rent, explained Wanda Pettigrew, the home compliance manager with the city.

“There is no administration cost to the contract,” she said, adding the money will be used solely to help residents in danger of losing their apartments due to not meeting rent.

Called the tenant-based rental assistance program, Gary residents who can demonstrate they meet financial guidelines can apply for the aid.

On its third try, CR Works will get a forgivable $900,000 federal loan to help with construction costs for Comfort Villas, a two-phase affordable housing development planned for the 2100 block of Jefferson Street.

CR Works planned to apply for the loans in 2010 and 2011 but did not get any money. According to federal policy, the loans will be forgiven if Comfort Villas leases to residents meeting income and other guidelines.

Curtis Whittaker, of Whittaker and Co., was awarded another contract, albeit with less money. Whittaker will serve as a financial adviser to the city Finance Department for $50,000, down from last year’s $60,00 contract. Last year, Whittaker received more than $200,000 in contracts with various city departments.

Whittaker will work on end-of-year statements, leases, bonds and documents for the State Board of Accounts, said Controller Celita Green.

“It’s just basically calling (Whittaker) in for certain things,” she said, adding Whittaker will do work once farmed out to a large accounting firm.

The board approved a six-month, $16,415 contract from the city’s Health Department to Diana Sandlin, head of Rural and Urban Consulting. Sandlin will develop training sessions for employees, attend countywide meetings and assist with the development of standard operating procedures.



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