July 17, 2009

WC joins other cities in seeking federal dollars to deal with the foreclosure crisis

Facing a $7.3 million shortfall this fiscal year, and a nearly $30 million deficit, in the next two years, Walnut Creek is looking for various ways to find extra money, including joining with some perhaps surprising partners in applying for federal stimulus money to revitalize neighborhoods hurt by foreclosures.

The Contra Costa Times says Walnut Creek is joining with Richmond, Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley, and other parts of Contra Costa to apply for $50 million in "neighborhood stabilization" funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The unincorporated neighborhoods joining in this consortium are in Montalvin Manor, Bay Point, and North Richmond.

As we know, the East Contra Costa County cities are among the worst hit in the Bay Area and the state by the foreclosure crisis.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get my head around: North Richmond. Walnut Creek. Those two communities joining forces, two communities that are, shall we say, at opposite ends, not just of the county, but of the socioeconomic spectrum.

The Times has Laura Simpson, housing manager for Walnut Creek, acknowleging that Walnut Creek's situation is not as dramatic as Richmond's and Antioch's. The Times adds:

[Walnut Creek] has about 100 foreclosed homes in two neighborhoods that stand to benefit. Those neighborhoods include town homes, duplexes, and condos in a redevelopment area along Broadway and a neighborhood in northeast Walnut Creek near Heather Farm Park.

Walnut Creek hopes to get $3 million to $5 million over the next three years from the grant. That would allow the city to rehab about 10 properties a year, all of which would be for residents with low and moderate incomes, said Simpson. Part of the grant application stipulates that the rehabilitation will make these homes "green" and energy-efficient.

The grant money also would cover downpayment assistance and counseling for first-time homebuyers, she said. Besides helping people get a new home, the renovations help neighborhoods by cleaning up parcels that may be bringing down nearby property values.


Anonymous said...

There ain't no free money anywhere.

Not very inventive thinking on the City's part to try to add to the ailing coffers with Federal dollars and all the strings that come with it.

Why is the City in the housing business to begin with when they don't have to money to support the programs already in place? We are short on police, road repair/construction/ recreation, etc. funds as it is and now they want to buy up foreclosed homes?

Get real guys and do the job you were elected to do.....provide the real services that your constituents need and leave the housing market to private enterprise.

Jojo Potato said...

Did you know that federal dollars are not actually free? They are actually paid for by your taxes. How about the city take care of itself? There's plenty of money if it's not wasted.

Anonymous said...

This program is a waste. A better program would be to take a bulldozer to the homes, plant some trees (think green) on the property and sell the property at an auction once the housing market stabilizes.

Anonymous said...

I find it quite ironic that the City of Walnut Creek puts itself out there as "THE" town in the county who sets the pace for all others to follow. Examples......the new library has to be the biggest and most expensive......Tiffany's is a destination and then add Neiman Marcus as the icing on the cake to make us much more superior to other communities.

Because of overspending, poor financial planning and an economy that tanked, Walnut Creek is now willing to join some what they have always considered less classy cities in a scramble to get money from the Feds.

Seems that the reasons most homeowners are going through foreclosure are the same reasons that Walnut Creek has financial problems.....overspening, poor financial planning and a tanking economy.

Kind of reminds one of the rich kid who watches others do the work at a birthday party then grubs
around on the floor gathering goodies when someone else brakes the pinata.

I don't suppose that anyone at City Hall would have any problem justifying this type of hypocisy. Obviously they didn't learn their lesson after applying several times for state grants to build their library and being turned down because other cities had a greater need for funds. Will it be the same this time?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28pm:

I love the part about the rich kid grubbing on the floor after one the poor kids "BRAKES" the pinata.


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the typo.....yes I do know how to spell "BREAKS".

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28

Regarding - Examples......the new library has to be the biggest and most expensive......

We put this one to bed in another thread...
I don't have an opinion but will let the math conclude for me. It concluded that the WC Library is basically in line with others and even a bit smaller considering our population than other local libraries built in the last 5 or so years.

Danville 18,000/41,182 = 0.44
Lafayette 34,973/25,011 = 1.40
Orinda 24,400/18,259 = 1.34
Dublin 38,000 /47,000 = .81
Livermore 80,000/35,000 = .44 they have 2 others
Walnut Creek 55,000/63,486 = 0.87
(The 55,000 sq.ft.counts 13,000 for YV Library + 42,000 for downtown. It does not count Rossmoor, which is not a public library)

A typical figure statewide is around 1 sq.ft. per person. Walnut Creek is not overbuilding its library from this perspective. In fact, Danville appears to need a larger library.

All the governments( city, state,county etc.) have their hand out to the Feds.... so do most individuals!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4 pm

No matter how you figure it with fancy numbers and is still the most expensive library to be built in recent times in that we are paying well over $40 million for it. No other city even came close to this amount. And, you haven't factored in the costs that have not yet been covered such as extra staffing, hard fixtures and books.

I don't care how you figure it, our city had no business spending this much money on any capitol improvement project when the funds were authorized. The early signs of a downturn in the economy were already there and every bit of spare cash was commited to the library while other much needed services were put on the back burner. Good Lord, people on Homestead still have to wait until 2012 to get their flood control issues solved that were caused by the city and that is just one place where money should be being spent right now.

I personally do not have my hand out to the Feds for money and none of my family and friends do either. All are surviving because of prudent planning, careful spending, hard work and the wish to be free of getting quick cash with all of the strings attached.

Enough with the library for now. I just used it as an example of financial superiority by Walnut Creekers who are now being caught with their pants down.

Anonymous said...

Cindy Silva is so dumb! It's all her fault! How the heck was she voted into office?!?

Anonymous said...

She may not be dumb but she can sure suck the oxygen out of a room.

Anonymous said...

Are these funds need-based grants? Many other communities need it far more than WC.