Augusta housing department seeks public input via online survey

Augusta Chronicle (GA), 2014-08-24


Aug. 24 -- Augusta residents have a chance to tell city leaders how they think federal housing funds should be used to improve the community.

The city's Housing and Development office is seeking input for its upcoming five-year plan that must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to receive Community Development Block Grants and other federal allocations.

The city is collecting feedback using an online survey, and public forums will be held this fall.

"Now, we are engaging social media with a survey to see what the community feels is the most important," said Hawthorne Welcher , the assistant director of Housing and Development.

The survey collects demographic information and asks residents to rank the community needs most important to them. Questions include rankings for public infrastructure, public services and facilities, housing and economic development.

"We want to be sure we are putting our funding where the greatest need is," Welcher said.

Based on projections and community feedback, the previous five-year plan that covered 2010-14 will be updated. Wecher said he expects minor revisions, but engaging the public helps the community more willingly accept change as it takes place.

"It's their money," he said. "It's their voice on paper."

The survey will be open until the end of September. The plan must be submitted to HUD by Nov. 15 , and a 30-day public comment period and approval from the Augusta Commission is required.

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