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Affordable housing efforts get a boost

PALMETTO — The federal government has given a financial boost to local efforts to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded an $8.8 million capital advance to the Diocese of Venice to provide elderly housing in Palmetto, Sen. Mel Martinez’s office announced Monday.

HUD also awarded the diocese a $597,600 three-year rental subsidy.

A HUD grant summary said the capital advance is for constructing 68 one-bedroom units in a three-story building. That describes Holy Cross Manor, a senior-housing complex at 510 26th St. W., next door to Holy Cross Catholic Church.

It could not be immediately determined whether the advance is for the existing building or for an expansion. A HUD spokesman could not say Monday and diocese officials did not return telephone calls.

The capital advance is from a program that helps private, nonprofit sponsors finance the development of supportive housing for the elderly, according to HUD’s Web site. The advance does not have to be repaid as long as the project serves very low-income seniors for 40 years.

Rental assistance is given to cover the difference between the project’s HUD-approved operating cost and tenants’ contributions toward rent. Rental assistance contracts are initially approved for three years and can be renewed, depending on the availability of funds.

Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.