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Jacksonville looks at progress in implementing five-year consolidation plan for providing fair housing to low and moderate income residents

2010 was the year for the city of Jacksonville to prepare its last five-year consolidated plan.

One aspect of the plan was the Community Development Office’s continuing involvement with Keep Jacksonville (KJB).

“The KJB mission is to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community,” states the report. “We work closely with KJB and help promote its projects.”

In 2008, Community Development helped with the design and printing of the Recycling Education Park brochure and the “Bag Your Boxes” brochure. “On an as-needed basis, we will continue to print both brochures.”

In 2010, the Recycling Education Park received the 2010 Environmental Education Program of the Year Award from the Arkansas Recycling Coalition.

“KJB continues to find locations for its murals,” according to the report. “Presently we have one at the corner of Main Street and Oak, one at Crestview Plaza which was put in place in March 2012 and one is underway for the Farmer’s Market.”

In 2012, KJB provided an eagle at City Hall.

“They are also providing one at the new police/communication complex located on Marshall Road,” states the report.

The Community Development Office’s goal is to also apply for HUD grants totaling $1 million for lead hazard control, the report added.

“In 2010, the city provided training, education and outreach for lead hazards to the community of Jacksonville as resources permitted,” stated the report.

In May 2010, the city held its first financial literacy program classes. “The program received very positive evaluation from the participants. The program targets very low to moderate income persons in Jacksonville. The program consists of a series of classes that runs for 12 consecutive weeks,” according to the report.

The city of Jacksonville remains committed to providing affordable housing, assisting in single unit home maintenance and ensuring equal opportunities for low to moderately-low income home ownership.

“In 1996, the city council reaffirmed this commitment by strengthening the city’s Fair Housing Ordinance by amendment,” states the report. “The amendment guaranteed the city’s safeguards remained in step with federal guidelines. The city continued actions to make sure information on the general provision of Fair Housing was available to all citizens of Jacksonville.”

The report indicates that the city of Jacksonville maintains leadership/participation activities in educating the local and surrounding communities through workshops and furthering the proponents of fair housing.

“The city continues to print and distribute 11 by 17 laminated posters in both English and Spanish of fair housing advertisement. The city is also a coalition member of Arkansas Against Abusive Payday Lending (AAAPL),” according to the report.

The coalition is comprised of concerned organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of the citizens – particularly the working poor – of Arkansas by removing abusive payday lending from the state.

Lastly, the city continues to issue pens at all possible functions, bank fairs, homebuyer seminars, business expos, the Arkansas Hospitality Expo, etc., designed to promote the cause of fair housing.

The report also states that the city also enjoyed supporting working relations with the Arkansas HUD office, other governmental, non-profit and profit organizations, guided by the staff of the State Fair Housing Office.

“The city continues to make significant improvements in attacking barriers to furthering fair housing,” states the report. “As noted in the Consolidation Plan, this is a priority need. The city has been tackling these problems as early as 1996 when a formal study of impediments to fair housing was done.”

A 2004 study done by J-Quad and Associates was reported to HUD and the State Fair Housing Office in January 2005.

“The city’s effort to increase and improve access to suitable and affordable housing has been one of real cooperation,” adds the report. “The city of Jacksonville formed a consortium with five other entitlement cities (Fort Smith, North Little Rock, Conway, West Memphis and Fayetteville) and issued a RFP (Request For Proposal) for the Analysis of impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Western Economic Services Inc. was selected to prepare the research/report.”

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