Southern Nevada jurisdictions of Clark County, Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas together turned in an application for $367 million from Washington to help battle the once-in-a-lifetime-tough mortgage foreclosure meltdown still roiling here. The stimulus money falls under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, or NSP, run by HUD, or Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The basic idea is to assist in stabilizing hammered communities by converting vacant homes into affordable housing opportunities and stimulate their economies. State and local governments and non-profit developers would work together to buy land and property, to tear down and rehab abandoned properties and offer down payment and closing cost help to low- and middle-income home purchasers. The grantees could also form "land banks" to accrue, temporarily run and eventually sell off foreclosed homes.
Las Vegas mortgage foreclosure numbers and residential real estate weakness certainly made it a strong candidate for a nice chunk from the $2 billion pool that was in play this time.
Well, the verdict is in: Southern Nevada got zero dollars. Zilch. Nada.
That has left many Las Vegas area government officials and private sector housing shakers to scratch their collective heads as to what went wrong. These NSP grants are being handed out competitively to those who come up with the most creative ways to rebuild their communities. And, yes and, that they understand the responsibility of dealing with taxpayer money. It's hard to say where Southern Nevada's application failed to pass the test, but when it drew a complete blank obviously it was less than convincing. HUD got 482 applications and 56 of them were awarded grants of various sizes. Even Reno got something, $21 million.
Southern Nevada could've used this money to shore up its fragile real estate sector, to prevent more neighborhoods from falling into disrepair and losing property value. Clearly this will set back the eventual housing rebound here as market forces alone are left to do the heavy lifting.