Stimulus Funded Affordable Housing in Disarray

November 7, 2010; Source: Shreveport Times | It seems that there are stimulus-related problems in Shreveport, La. A federal audit concludes that the Shreveport Housing Authority may have to repay $1.1 million of $1.5 million it received in stimulus funding for a housing development project called Wilkinson Terrace.

The Shreveport Times cited other incidents in the affordable housing arena such as the Queensborough Neighborhood Association’s misspending public funds, local groups fighting against the nonprofit Fuller Center for Housing’s plans for 60 single-family homeownership units, and a failed downtown entertainment district – all suggesting that Shreveport’s affordable housing strategy is in some disarray.

The Times laid out the particulars of what Shreveport has not done well, but did not articulate the corrective strategy. Since the housing authority and other city agencies seem to be fumbling and bumbling with federal funds, Shreveport might be well advised to look at the many nonprofit successes with stimulus-funded affordable housing and community development ventures to see what it takes to make these resources work to a community’s benefit.—Rick Cohen