Pasco County’s Community Development Department has won national honors for the second year in a row, for its collaborative work to serve homeless individuals and families.
The group received the 2022 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award — the same honor it received in 2021.
The Pasco County Commission recently recognized the department’s efforts, through a resolution it adopted honoring Community Development Week in Pasco.
U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis, who represents Florida’s 12th congressional district, also sent in a copy of remarks he made in the Congressional Record, to honor the Pasco department.
In his remarks, Bilirakis cited the department’s accomplishment in winning national recognition two years in a row.
This year’s honor highlighted Pasco’s collaboration on the Rosalie Rendu Residences project, Bilirakis noted.
“This innovative project in New Port Richey, with partner St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) CARES, provides a safe, clean and permanent place for the homeless and those living with a disability. The units, renovated from a former multifamily building, opened in August 2021.
“Rosalie Rendu Residences include both efficiencies and two-bedroom units for shared housing.
“Federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program, coupled with state funding and private funding, made this project possible,” Bilirakis said.
“In 2021, Pasco County Community Development Department, won the award based on its collaborative efforts with the Vincent House Project, which provides job-training skills to those living with mental illness,” the congressman added.
He also noted “the department has a long history of utilizing diverse and innovative strategies to meet the needs of the people of Pasco County.”
Rosalie Rendu Residences is the fourth phase of SVdP CARES’ permanent supportive housing project, established in July of 2021. St. Vincent de Paul CARES celebrated the opening of Rosalie Rendu Residences on Aug. 5, 2021. It’s an affordable and supportive housing project in New Port Richey that features eight newly renovated apartments. The project provides a safe place for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Pasco County Commission’s resolution also praised the department’s work.
The resolution, approved during the county board’s April 19 meeting, said the department “has demonstrated tireless dedication to the revitalization of neighborhoods and the creation of affordable housing throughout the county.”
The resolution also explained that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program provide annual funding and flexibility to local communities, such as Pasco County.
That funding, according to the resolution, is used to “provide decent, safe, and affordable housing in a suitable living environment as well as economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income individuals.”
The resolution also provided some statistics, reporting that within the past eight years, Pasco has received more than $21.7 million in CDBG funds and more than $3.7 million in in Coronavirus Relief funds from Housing and Urban Development.
The department also allocated 100% of expended funds to benefit low-income to moderate-income households — exceeding the minimum requirement of 70%, according to the resolution.
The CDBG program also supported rapid rehoming projects for 254 of our most vulnerable neighbors, the resolution said.
Plus, the department provided affordable housing through the rehabilitation of existing units for 112 households, the resolution added.
In adopting the resolution, the county board also encouraged the community to support the department’s activities, throughout the year.
“Without these hardworking individuals, Pasco County would not be the vibrant community it is today,” according to the resolution.
Marcy Esbjerg, the director of community development, thanked the county board for its support, as well as the county’s leadership team, the community development staff and the department’s community partners.
She was gratified to receive a copy of the remarks that Bilirakis made on the Congressional Record, and noted that the department’s work on the Rosalie Rendu Residences project also was reported in a CDBG publication circulated to members of Congress.
Jack Mariano, who was filling in as the board’s chairman that day, told Esbjerg that she’s doing “a phenomenal job.”
Published May 11, 2022