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Housing City of Laredo comprehensive plan

Overall Goal: To provide varied housing opportunities for Laredoans with diverse economic backgrounds and housing preferences while at the same time creating strong regional housing markets that include a robust urban core and infill strategies that balance the need for new affordable housing and complete, healthy, and accessible communities throughout all of Laredo.

DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT

Goal 5.1: Revitalize downtown by creating new housing opportunities

Policy 5.1.2 – Create elderly housing opportunities like at the Hamilton Hotel.

The City continues to move forward with efforts to increase the availability of affordable rental housing for elderly within the City’s Downtown. Ongoing is the renovation and conversion of the building located at 820 Convent, which when completed will feature 15 studio apartments to be made available to qualifying elderly, low income tenants. The project is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at a cost of $2.13 million with Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnerships Program funds. Construction began February 2019 and is estimated to be complete January 2020. The benefits of this project are twofold in that it promotes much needed affordable housing opportunities and encourages the rebirth of Laredo’s Historic Downtown.

More photos of the construction.

Policy 5.1.6: All new public infrastructure and facility investments should be concentrated downtown.

Replacement of Water and Sewer Lines in Downtown Ongoing: Within the last 2 years the City has invested approximately $2.5 million in water and sewer line replacements and enhancements in Downtown. The plan is to continue to make necessary infrastructure improvements until all lines have been replaced at an estimated cost of $5 to $8 million. The majority of the work will continue to be done in house by City crews to maintain costs.

Goal 5.2: Develop a robust infill strategy to redevelop existing neighborhoods and provide affordable housing choices.

Policy 5.2.1: Create an infill incentive policy that includes property tax rebates, waiver of permitting fees, parking reductions, and sale tax rebate, among other possibilities.

Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Program (NEZ): The NEZ Program provides that based on qualifying criteria, building permit fee waivers and municipal property tax abatements ranging from 5 to 10 years are granted to homeowners, investor-owners and developers proposing new construction or rehabilitation projects that are located within Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 & 8 inclusive of Downtown.

Policy 5.2.3: City can identify all existing vacant parcels of land by developing a comprehensive map and list and pursue the purchase of these properties, when possible, for affordable housing units

The City has initiated the construction of 4 studio apartments for the elderly at 1806 Juarez as a means to address the need for affordable housing and promote the revitalization of the city’s older neighborhoods. Previously, this property was vacant, substandard and blighted. This new construction project was made possible through the donation of the property by the Fernando A. Salinas Trust and $405,000 in HOME Program funding from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Target date for completion is July 2019

Policy 5.2.4: Continue and enhance the “Operation Crackdown” program.

Operation Crackdown: For the past five consecutive years, the City has worked in partnership with the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Border Patrol to remove substandard/ dilapidated structures that served as safe havens for criminal activity. The demolition of these structures has eliminated neighborhood gangs, drugs, and associated activities that previously affected the adjacent neighbors and further serves to promote the redevelopment of inner city neighborhoods.

ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS CONCERNS

Goal 5.5: Create a comprehensive social service model.

Policy 5.5.4: Develop the capacity of existing housing social service agencies through additional training, resources, and funding allocation

In partnership with the Fernando A. Salinas Trust, SCAN:Serving Children and Adults in Need, Inc., the City of Laredo recently completed the rehabilitation and conversion of an existing residential structure at 1517 Washington Street to serve as transitional housing for homeless youths. The property was donated by the Fernando A. Salinas Trust and rehabilitated with $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. The shelter, which can accommodate 12 youths, will be operated by SCAN.