State awards Lufkin $1.4 million to repair tornado damage

AUSTIN, TX (Press release) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced two major funding awards totaling $1.4 million that together will help bring stability to the lives of area low income residents while providing a shot in the arm to the local economy.

TDHCA will provide the City of Lufkin with $500,000 in funds to help repair or replace six homes damaged or destroyed last year by a powerful tornado. The Department also announced that it will provide $962,899 to private developers constructing new affordable rental housing that will serve lower income residents.

"Those of us in Lufkin know how devastating the tornado last December was to our community," said Tom Gann, a Lufkin resident and member of the TDHCA Governing Board.  "Because the preservation of affordable housing stock is an important mission of the Department, particularly after a natural disaster, this is an appropriate use of these funds and an award well appreciated by Lufkin."

"There is a real need for good affordable rental housing to our area's workforce or retirees living on a fixed income," said Jack Gorden, Jr., Mayor of the City of Lufkin. "Both of these TDHCA awards will benefit our community by creating construction jobs, generating taxes and fees to the local economy, and helping keep up our quality of life."

In December 2009, an F-3 tornado struck the Lufkin community with winds topping out at an estimated 137 miles per hour, damaging an estimated 238 homes. Once Governor Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration, TDHCA notified city officials that they were eligible to apply for disaster funds. Their efforts paid off today with the announcement of this disaster funding award.

Private developers will utilize its funding award to construct the 11-unit Angelina Development to provide affordable rental housing specifically for low income residents. By providing a safe, decent home at an affordable rent, the property is expected to bring greater stability to the lives of its low income tenants, as well as to the surrounding community.

Both awards were made through the Department's HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under HOME Program rules, funds may assist households earning no more than 80 percent of the area median family income. For Lufkin, this equals an annual income of $39,350 for a four-person household.

About The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs:

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is the state agency responsible for affordable housing, community services, energy assistance, colonia housing programs, and disaster recovery housing programs.  It currently administers over $2 billion through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to deliver local housing and community-based opportunities and assistance to Texans in need.