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City of Corpus Christi to hold a series of sessions to discuss federal funding

Posted at 7:54 PM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 20:54:14-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Monday, the City of Corpus Christi held its first of five Neighborhood Services Department community input meetings.

The meeting was aimed at district 1, but open to anyone who wanted to attend and could not make their own district meeting.

The purpose of the community input sessions is to help the city establish its next five-year consolidated action plan for 2024.

"People can come by, ask questions, give us their thoughts, give us their input on how they think and what they feel this money should be spent on. So we want to be sure we have the public input as we go through that decision-making process," Assistant Director of Neighborhood Services Tracey Cantu said.

The city received over $2 million from the Community Development Block Grant, over $1 million for the Home Investment Partnership Program and a little under $300,000 for the Emergency Solutions Grant.

During Monday's meeting, the city and Neighborhood Services Department showed their strategic plan. It showed how the city intends to prioritize what needs there are locally and how they anticipate choosing high priorities to fund over the next five years.

One participant told us why she showed up.

"I am concerned about the way the city is deciding to spend the money on how to take care of the most vulnerable population in our city and that is houseless individuals," Community Organizer Chloe Torres said.

Every five years the city has to complete a five-year consolidated action plan to set goals for use of federal funds. Every year they also submit an action plan that tells the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) how they will use HUD's allocation money.

With the last round of grants, the city invested in issues like utility assistance, affordable rental housing, and emergency shelter assistance with the Salvation Army.

"These meetings are all about deciding on how the city is going to use federal money, our tax dollars, on how to service those who need it the most," Torres said.

Torres dedicates her time to raising awareness for what she calls housing injustice. She is passionate about it because it is something that could possibly hit close to home at any given moment.

"Housing insecurity can happen to any of us at any time. I would say the vast majority of Americans know what it's like to have an emergency expense and not know where they're gonna get the money from," Torres added.

She said that she feels the city should speak to those closest to the issue to find the root cause of the problem and get it solved.

Torres raised concerns about the homeless community and those nearing it at the meeting.

Cantu told us input from passionate people, like Torres, is what the meetings are all about.

"We conduct these meetings because it is important for us to get the input from our community members so we can better assess how these dollars are allocated," Cantu said.

Although some comments were not fully answered at Monday's session, the input will still be taken into consideration before a final decision is made this summer.

For those who cannot attend a session this week, there will be a survey put out by May to discuss the same subject. The city's five-year plan must be submitted to HUD no later than Aug.15, or the city will lose its funds.