Recovery Act $$$ for Alameda County, Oakland

In short: $11 million to Alameda County for housing rehab and job creation, and $6.8 million to support Early Head Start in Oakland.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released $2 billion from its Neighborhood Stabilization Program today, including the $11 million for Alameda County, bankrolled by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The NSP aims to spur economic development in hard-hit communities and create jobs by providing resources to buy and rehabilitate vacant homes and convert them to affordable housing. More specifically, the money is supposed to be used to help state and local governments and non-profit developers collaborate to buy land and property; demolish or rehabilitate abandoned homes and buildings; and/or to offer down-payment and closing cost assistance to low- to middle-income homebuyers. Grantees can also create “land banks” to assemble, temporarily manage, and dispose of foreclosed homes.

The awards also require housing counseling for families receiving homebuyer assistance funds through the NSP, and grantees must ensure that new homebuyers under this program get mortgages from lenders who agree to comply with sound lending practices.

California received about $318 million under today’s grant release; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it’ll “help provide prompt relief and assistance to individuals, families and communities while also helping create jobs throughout California.”

More about the NSP, and about the Early Head Start money for Oakland, after the jump…

HUD last year awarded nearly $4 billion in NSP formula funds, and in August awarded $50 million in technical assistance grants to help grantees more effectively manage the inventory of abandoned homes they buy under the NSP.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said it’ll “provide a much needed economic boost to our communities in the 9th Congressional District and help us to rebuild and strengthen our blighted neighborhoods. I applaud the Obama Administration for continuing to work to provide funding to much needed programs in our communities.”

Actually, the Alameda County grant was awarded in a consortium agreement with the cities of Dublin, Emeryville, Hayward, Fremont, Livermore, Pleasanton, Newark, San Leandro and Union City; of those, only Emeryville is in Lee’s district. Still, county officials are appreciative.

“These funds could not have come at a more critical time for our community,” Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said, praising Lee for her help in securing the NSP money. “In addition to helping to stabilize neighborhoods, these funds will create and retain jobs in the County.’’

In other Recovery Act news, the City of Oakland and various partners announced today that they’re getting $6.8 million in Recovery Act funds to bolster Early Head Start programs, letting 299 families to work or pursue educations while their children are in safe, nurturing, educational daycare. The city estimates the money – actually a $5.7 million grant to Oakland and a $1.1 million grant to The Unity Council – will create 48 jobs at Early Head Start sites.

Mayor Ron Dellums said the funding addresses two of Oakland residents’ critical needs: “We can put people back to work, while relieving some of the pressure for families who are trying to meet the demands of their current employment and education needs.”

Unity Council CEO Gilda Gonzales said that “with this grant award, we strengthen Oakland’s capacity to provide enhanced educational and social services to parents who desire a better life for themselves and their children.”

Lee’s office said her district so far has received $608,751,305 in Recovery Act funds. The average population per Congressional district after reapportionment under the 2000 Census was 646,952; if those numbers still held true, it would mean Lee’s district has received $940.95 per person.

But the district’s population almost certainly has changed since 2000, and the Recovery Act funding number might be somewhat deceptive: Because Oakland is home to the University of California headquarters and a regional Caltrans district, hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, loans and contracts are identified as flowing to the area but are really marked for projects across the region and state.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.