A handful of coastal communities have been selected to participate in a state-administered federal grant program that will provide housing and public improvements for low- and moderate-income residents.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce selected 21 towns and counties across the state to receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant – Neighborhood Revitalization awards totaling $14.9 million. The program does not have a matching-fund requirement.

The grant offers the recipient the county or town to tailor a community development project to address the specific and most critical needs of its eligible residents. Funds can be used on infrastructure and public improvements such as streets, sidewalks and pedestrian ways, curbs and gutters, parks, playgrounds, greenways, water and sewer lines, flood and drainage improvements, and trees, as well as temporary housing for disaster victims.

Craven County and the towns of Windsor and Edenton are the coastal communities among those selected and will receive $750,000 each.

“It costs more now to buy or rent so it’s critical that we invest more in affordable housing,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement. “These neighborhood revitalization grants will help us build stronger and more resilient communities across our state.”

The grant program offers a non-entitlement municipality or county the opportunity to tailor a community development project to address the specific and most critical needs of their community. Non-entitlement communities are incorporated municipalities under 50,000 persons and counties under 200,000 persons.

“Our most vulnerable communities are continuing to chart their path from this unprecedented pandemic,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “This funding will reinforce their revitalization efforts and infuse their community with more resources to support their long-term recovery.”

Avery, Halifax, Mitchell and Wayne counties and the towns of Calypso, Chadbourn, Garysburg, Henderson, Lilesville, Lumberton, Morven, Murphy, Pink Hill, Sharpsburg and Tabor City also have been awarded $750,000. The towns of Hobgood will be awarded $600,000, Saratoga $593,000 and Speed $306,894.

HUD’s Community Development Block Grant funds are awarded to enhance the vitality of communities by providing adequate housing, suitable living environments, infrastructure development, and expanding economic opportunities, officials said. The state must ensure that at least 70% of these grant funds are used for activities and projects that serve persons of low- and moderate-income.

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