A joint effort between Richland County, the City of Columbia and the Columbia Housing Authority led to 12 new houses for local low- to moderate-income families.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week, elected officials, government employees, community leaders and neighbors welcomed the new homeowners of one of the 12 units located along Lyon Street, in the Waverly neighborhood. The brightly colored homes were constructed by the three entities – Richland County, City of Columbia and Columbia Housing Authority – utilizing their respective federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via Community Development Block Grants.

“This is the first phase of a lot of things to happen in this community,” said Gilbert Walker, executive director of the Columbia Housing Authority.

Gonzales Gardens, an outdated low-income housing complex in the neighborhood, is slated to soon be razed by the Columbia Housing Authority. The 12 newly constructed homes are part of an initial redevelopment of the area.

“This is a culmination that has been on the horizon for years,” said Richland County Community Development Manager Valeria Jackson. “This partnership between the County and City and the Columbia Housing Authority is making a difference in people’s lives.”

Richland County used HUD grant money to build two of the 12 homes, and the City of Columbia provided funding for the other 10. As the project’s owner, the Columbia Housing Authority will use approximately $59 million from other sources to complete the housing initiative.

“You can’t spell collaboration without the word ‘labor,’” said Richland County Councilwoman Yvonne McBride during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I want to thank everyone for the hard work that went into this project, and we at Richland County look forward to a continued, progressive relationship with everyone.”

After the ceremony, attendees toured some of the houses and spoke with the homeowners who will soon be moving in.

The ribbon-cutting event took place during National Community Development Week, which showcases how federally funded programs make a positive difference in the lives of low- and moderate-income families. For more information about Richland County Community Development, visit www.rcgov.us/Government/Departments/

Sharon Sanders
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