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State Considers Disaster Relief Funds for Jefferson City

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Nine months after a tornado displaced 180 families from their homes, the Missouri Department of Economic Development is considering a grant for Jefferson City to develop new affordable housing.

The tornado destroyed large sections of Hawthorne Apartments and several other neighborhoods, causing dozens of families moved to other communities after the loss of their homes, according to Angela Hirsch, chief program officer for Central Missouri Community Action.

“Communities that have had similar funding in the past have been able to use that funding to either repair or replace housing stock that was lost as a result of the natural disaster,” Hirsch says.

The proposed funding comes from a $41 million federal grant that the Missouri Department of Economic Development will allocate to various disaster impacted communities, with a special focus on those hit by floods. The grant offers an opportunity to provide affordable housing to low-income residents of the state capitol, according to Hirsch.

“Jefferson City has been suffering from a shortage of affordable housing for quite some time,” Hirsch says. “When the tornado hit and destroyed more than 500 residential units throughout the community, the affordable housing crisis really became a crisis.”

The public comment period for the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s draft action plan ends February 14.