Federal grant will fund expanded community services in Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo is giving the green light to plans geared at addressing unique needs within the community.

The city is working with HUD to receive over one million dollars in grants to help several programs expand their services to low income members of the community.

The grant gives funding to different groups that give a helping hand to those who may need it.

"From feeding senior citizens, to helping homeless at the Guyon Resource Center," said Juliana Kitten, Director of Community Development for the City of Amarillo."Also, the HOME part of the grant is focused on doing minor repairs or major repairs again for very low income individuals."

While the city plays a role in the plan, it allows those who live in the area being served to make the final decision of where the money goes.

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"A board that's made up of people from the CDBG target area," said Kitten. "They actually live in those communities, so they're the ones that make the final decision and actually make the final allocations in terms of who gets what."

Right now, the AAYC Community Center is not fully up to code and can only use about half of their building.

With this grant, that will soon change.

"One of the major needs we need is a sprinkler system," said Matt Hite, Executive Director of the AAYC. "A fire suppression sprinkler system, so that we are more up to code and so we are safer for kids so we can use the entire building."

The fire suppression sprinkler system will allow the non-profit to serve more kids.

"We'll have a bigger space and bigger area," said Hite. "A lot of our programs have to move around and share rooms, that won't happen anymore. They'll have their own space where they can leave things set up and it'll be their room instead of it changing out from program to program from night to night."

The city also adopted HUD's definition of homelessness, which is more broad and allows the community development department to help people who are at imminent risk and makes the application process of getting people Housing Choice Vouchers, formally known as Section 8, simpler.

Previously the city required original documents, such as original birth certificates and social security cards.
"Now we're able to accept copies which is very helpful for people who are homeless or transient," said Kitten.

If you'd like more information on how to apply for a Housing Choice Voucher, you can contact the city of Amarillo's Community Development Department.

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