Area residents qualify for grant money

The Village of Simsboro for the third time has received a Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) fund for the fiscal year 2015 – 2016 in the amount of $220,469.37. The Village of Simsboro and Grambling State University via its faculty personnel, have received the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) via its Rural Housing Service (RHS) to initiate activities that are designed to  provide housing renovation assistance to low and very low-income residents of the Village of Simsboro and also those of the Town of Jonesboro of Lincoln and Jackson parishes respectively. 

Benedict Nwokolo

Benedict Nwokolo

The main objective of the grant is designed to renovate a number of dilapidated single-family housing units of the grant’s target area in order for these housing units to meet the area building code. The federal government will make available a total of $38,725.37 while the Village of Simsboro will provide $116,000.00 with $65,744.00 to come from private sources.

As in the previous funding, Benedict Nwokolo, professor/endowed chair of construction engineering technology at GSU, project director, “The Village of Simsboro and GSU administration do understand the need to work diligently in order to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the target area via the removal of health hazard elements associated with the dilapidated single-family housing units that belong to low/very low-income citizens of the target area.” According to Nwokolo, GSU has been instrumental in securing housing renovation technical and financial assistance in the amount of more than $1,151,258.00 for the low/very low-income residents of its surrounding community between September 22, 2003 to-date.  Nwokolo went on to add that during the above stated period of time, 40 single-family housing units were slated to have been renovated/re-constructed for the impoverished area residents of Lincoln and Jackson parishes of Louisiana.

“Both the Village of Simsboro and Grambling State University have a mission that is designed to improve the living conditions of its elderly and low-income surrounding citizens via the above named housing preservation grant program” Nwokolo added.

Simsboro Mayor, Sybil Smalling-Foster said the grant could not have come at a better time when a number of Simsboro’s low/very low-income residents are in dire need of financial assistance to maintain  their single-family housing units and to remove health hazard elements from units infested with lead and asbestos materials. Smalling-Foster went on to add that she is pleased to work with GSU in order to ensure that the project is executed in accordance with the funding agency’s provision(s).

Nwokolo indicated that the new grant is expected to cover the renovation of at least five single-family housing units of low/very low-income homeowners of the Simsboro and Jonesboro areas. Those needing housing renovations are urged to go to the Simsboro City Hall and complete an application.  Applicants are expected to attach some evidence of income and homeownership in their application packages. Licensed local construction contractors are also asked to contact Nwokolo at (318)274-2716 for details relating to the bid processes relating to all the anticipated re-construction activities of this grant project. Nwokolo can also be reached via this email address:

Nwokolo said all applications will be processed by using the federal guideline of first come, first served. 

The Village of Simsboro can be reached at (318)247-6248. This new grant is effective from Oct.  1 through September 30, 2016.