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      City grants half-million grant to church

      St. John's Estates in east Albany.

      A local church is receiving half a million dollars to improve local housing.

      Anyone who's driven by east Albany TMs St. John TMs Estates knows it's a neighborhood in need of repair. Mount Olive Community Outreach Center has taken on the challenge of fixing up the neighborhood and now the church is receiving $500,000 worth of help from the city of Albany.

      The funds come to Albany from the federal government and a regulation states that the city must provide 15 percent of the money to promote affordable housing.

      Officials want to use the money to bring people back to east Albany and revive the community.

      Mount Olive has already gotten the ball rolling when it comes to bringing families back to the area. So far, they've renovated 50 of the 300 homes in the St. John TMs Estates community.

      We already have tenants who have moved in. Several homeowners in some of the properties who've come in and purchased the houses are first time homeowners, said Benny Hand, Mount Olive Project Manager.

      The grant funds from the city will allow the church to start renovations on 40 additional homes for families looking to rent.

      The homes are set up for low to moderate income families.

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