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Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
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Madison seeks low-income housing grant
Olinger: 'Bigger cities have already gotten their Hope VI
Olinger: 'Bigger cities have already gotten their Hope VI grants.'

Madison plans to apply for its first federal Hope VI grant, which it hopes to use to revitalize three public housing developments: Truax Park Apartments, Wright Anderson Townhomes and Webb Rethke Townhomes, all on the city's east side.

If the application is successful, the city would get about $22 million for the project, says Mark Olinger, the city's director of planning and community and economic development.

Hope VI is a grant program run by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development designed to replace or renovate distressed public housing and encourage mixed-use, mixed-income developments.

The program, started in 1992, has been criticized elsewhere for merely moving poor people to other areas. But Olinger says Madison's plan would be built in stages, starting with vacant land on the Truax Park site, where "we can begin building without displacing people."

Details are still being worked out, but the proposal calls for the 35 townhouses at Wright Anderson to be replaced. Six of the 10 apartment buildings at Truax would be renovated and the other four replaced. Other funds would go toward building affordable housing scattered around the city, as well as job-training programs, Olinger says.

The application process (PDF) is expected to open next month, with a deadline expected in the summer.

"HUD is looking for projects in areas that haven't gotten grants in the past," Olinger says. "Most of the bigger cities have already gotten their Hope VI grants. Milwaukee has four."

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