Columbia Star

CCN hears reports from council member, senior loan officer, and policy and communications advisor

The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods held its monthly meeting Thursday, August 24.

Columbia City Councilman Howard Duvall addressed the suspension of fellow councilmember Moe Baddourah.

In response to a question asked by CCN secretary Michele Huggins, who lives in Baddourah’s district, Duvall said he sent a Freedom of Information Act letter to Governor Henry McMaster’s office requesting a list of politicians who have been suspended for a misdemeanor offense. The response Duvall received was the governor’s office did not have that information.

Baddourah was charged with second-degree domestic violence stemming from an incident involving his wife last summer. Baddourah was charged in January and was suspended by McMaster in March.

In July, Baddourah filed a lawsuit against McMaster.

Duvall also announced as part of the 2017-2018 City of Columbia budget, the community promotions budget was significantly reduced from $ 400,000 in the 2016-2017 fiscal year to $46,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The budget funds organizations like CCN, the Community Relations Council, and the Lourie Center. Duvall said he is searching for ways to find funding for these organizations.

Rachelle Jennings, senior loan officer with community development, spoke about a maintenance assistance program. The program offers up to $20,000 for single family homes. The household income cannot exceed 60 percent of the area medium income.

The loan is forgivable during a period of ten years, with $ 2,000 being forgiven every year as long as the homeowner remains in the home. If the homeowner sales the house, the loan will be recouped as part of the sale.

When Jennings does the first interview with a person who wishes income for housing, she makes sure the resident lives in the city limits and the income meets the requirement.

Once that has been established, the resident must show documents including proof of ownership, a copy of the current mortage or satisfied mortgage, copy of paid receipt for current property taxes, last two year’s state and federal tax returns, driver’s license, and social security card to the next appointment.

The funds are on a first come, first qualified, and first served basis.

The first priority for the loan is to make sure the house in question is brought up to code. If it is not and the repairs exceed the $20,000 limit, the applicant may not be eligible.

If the house is up to code, the list of eligible costs include installation of storm windows or doors, roofing, exterior trim, exterior siding, tree removal, and demolition.

For more information, contact community development at (803) 545- 3373.

Lauren Harper, the policy and communications advisor for the City of Columbia, announced Columbia City Serve 2017, a month long volunteer opportunity for Columbia residents happening in October. The five categories for the City Serve include health, hunger, education, home improvement, and beautification.

A number of organizations who are partnering with City Serve include Homeworks of America, Walmart, and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Applications from government entities, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, and non-profits must be submittted by August 31 to

The projects will be screened by the mayor’s office and planning committee by September 10, and applicants will be contacted by September 13.

Projects must include at least five volunteers who volunteer at least one hour; it must be a donation drive, provide volunteers water, provide a complete list of resources necessary for the project, and a follow up report must be submitted to the mayor’s office.

The criteria evaluated include project feasibility, sustainability of benefits, equity, and measurable impact. Residents may begin signing up for projects by the middle of September.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.