Increasing the amount of affordable housing in Greensboro is one of the primary goals of the Greensboro City Council.

The lead agency dealing with affordable housing, the Greensboro Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development headed by former city councilmember Michelle Kennedy, has released its report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

One of the unique challenges the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department had in the last fiscal year was distributing $14 million in COVID-19 relief money.

The report states, “When the federal government drops $14 million in your bank account and tells you to go help your community, it seems like mana from heaven.”

“The reality of the federally-funded COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – meant to pay rent and utilities for people financially impacted by the pandemic – was something else.

“It was a grueling race to understand federal guidelines, launch digital application software, hire contractor agencies and dozens of people to vet applications and field hundreds of calls, and figure out how to reach people when interacting with strangers was dangerous to your health.”

The report notes that many of those seeking help were employed or very recently employed people who had never sought government assistance before.  The department received over 12,000 applications for assistance.

Despite the challenges the department was able to provide 2,537 households with rent and utility assistance and 39 households with mortgage assistance.

The $14 million turned out to be not enough and Guilford County provided another $6.5 million in pandemic relief funds.

The Neighborhood Development Department also rebuilt seven homes damaged by the tornado, made 36 homes “lead-safe,” distributed 121 forgivable home loans to first time home buyers and provided homebuyer education for 838 people.

The department was also involved in affordable housing developments that will add over 180 new affordable residential units to the city.

The reports notes that the code compliance division was working to become more proactive and approachable.