By Burl Gilyard
Dolan Media Newswires
Minneapolis — Minneapolis and St. Paul have landed a combined $37.5 million in federal stimulus money aimed at easing the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
Minneapolis received $19.46 million. The city was the lead applicant with Hennepin County and the city of Brooklyn Park. Minneapolis will ultimately divide the money with the county and Brooklyn Park.
Krista Bergert, a spokeswoman for the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department, said that it has not yet been determined how the money will be divided.
St. Paul was awarded $18.03 million. St. Paul was a stand-alone applicant.
The money was part of $2 billion in awards to nearly 60 grantees announced recently by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The federal stimulus money was authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is drawn from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
“We’re very pleased that the Obama administration has made available yet more critically important economic-recovery dollars for Minneapolis,” according to a statement attributed to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. “We will focus these new resources in the areas where they’re most needed and where they can have the most immediate impact.”
Minneapolis and St. Paul have been part of a national pilot program called First Look, wherein local nonprofit organizations can buy foreclosed homes directly from lenders.
The Twin Cities Community Land Bank, a newly formed Minneapolis-based nonprofit, is working to help coordinate the efforts.
The city of Minneapolis received $14 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money in 2008.
“This really is stabilizing neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures,” said James Lockwood, spokesman for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
But Lockwood said that in some cases, stabilization means starting over.
“We’re also going to demolish some of those homes that can’t be saved,” Lockwood said.