City kicks off Community Development Block Grant planning process
At its Sept. 13, 2013, meeting the Redmond City Council approved the City's participation in the Community Development Block Grant program. The City is expected to receive an estimated $178,127 during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is established by Federal law and administered by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) "to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income."
Each year, HUD allocates and distributes funds to the program's "entitlement" communities throughout the United States. Entitlement communities develop their own programs and set their own funding priorities in conformance with the statutory standards, program regulations and other federal regulations.
To receive funds the City must create a five-year Consolidated Plan that assesses needs and priorities, determines resources and sets goals to address those needs, typically a six-month process, followed by an annual Action Plan that addresses programs and funding for the fiscal year and a Consolidated Action Plan Evaluation Report, which evaluates whether or not the Action Plan was successful in achieving the goals of the Consolidated Plan.
The City completed the process to create its Consolidated Plan and its first Action Plan. A variety of community agencies were contacted to gather information on their services to the community's low- and moderate-income residents and input on the needs they see. A task force, comprised of representatives of some of these agencies, local government and the community met to assess and prioritize the community's needs.
Under CDBG rules, communities may undertake a wide range of activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and community services, facilities, and improvements. Each activity must meet one of three national objectives: benefit low- and moderate-income persons (LMI), aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight (urban renewal areas qualify), or meet other community development needs having a particular urgency that the grantee is unable to finance on its own.
The program includes five main funding program areas: Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention, Public Facilities and Community Development, Public Services (limited to 15% of annual CDBG award), and Economic Development.
Examples of permitted projects in each category include (not all inclusive):
Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention: Homeless supportive services, down payment assistance, utility assistance, weatherization and energy efficiency, housing rehabilitation for qualifying homes, housing rehabilitation for qualifying apartments, new affordable housing units for LMI 50% or less of median income
Public Facilities and Community Development: Transitional housing, family and youth shelter, family justice center, removing barriers to accessibility, infrastructure improvements to sidewalks, streets, utilities, street trees, etc. in qualifying neighborhoods; park rehabilitation projects
Public Services (limited to 15% of annual CDBG award): Victim assistance (domestic violence, abuse), health services for LMI persons, mental health services for LMI persons, job training for LMI persons
Economic Development: Small business assistance, job creation or retention for LMI persons