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Overview, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)


Community Planning and Development

The Community Planning and Development Programs include the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Emergency Shelter Grant Program, and any others that HUD may add from time to time. These are the programs included in the City’s Consolidated Plan submission to HUD in order to receive CDBG and other funding. The rest of this brochure will deal mainly with the CDBG program since that is the only program that the City receives on an annual basis.

The United States Congress established the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program with the passage of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. Since then, the CDBG Program has proven very popular and has been continually reauthorized. The Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Popularity of the CDBG Program can be attributed to its unique approach in working with local governments. Rather than require localities to apply for separate federal grants, one application is now submitted that can conceivably cover a variety of locally identified community development and housing needs.

The City of Longmont is one of the HUD-designated Entitlement areas in the State of Colorado. We have been a participant in the CDBG Program since 1984. HUD bases entitlement awards on a complex formula allocation which takes into consideration such factors as population, housing stock and the extent of poverty as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The City of Longmont has received up to $646,000 annually. Through FY 2008, the City has received $11,364,638 in Community Development funds.

In 2007, the City joined with the City of Boulder, Boulder County and the City and County of Broomfield to form a HOME Consortium. Through the formation of this Consortium, it now receives a direct allocation of HOME funds from HUD. Longmont’s share of the HOME funds is generally about $260,000 annually, with $543,889 received to date.

HOUSING AND HUMAN SERVICES ADVISORY BOARD AND THE CITY’S PROGRAM

The Longmont Housing and Human Services Advisory Board (formerly the Human Relations Commission), serves as a citizen advisory board to the City Council for the CPD programs. The CPD program was added to the HHSAB’s duties in 1995 so that it could act in the role of advisor in the planning, implementation and assessment of the CDBG Program. This ensures that a wide range of citizen input is included in the administration of the City’s CDBG and HOME Programs. The HHSAB reviews the CDBG, HOME, the Affordable Housing Fund, and any other CPD Programs, prior to funding, and recommends to the City Council projects and activities for funding. The HHSAB monitors the CDBG HOME and other CPD Programs during the remainder of the year.

Usually in late spring, the City begins its Funding Allocation Process by meeting with the HHSAB to discuss in general how the next year’s funds should be budgeted. A public notice is published to inform citizens of the amount of funds available and the types of activities for which these funds can be used. Project application forms are sent to anyone who requests one and to all who have applied in the past. A technical assistance meeting is held 30 - 60 days prior to the application due date. The application itself and all of the CPD Programs are reviewed and explained. Potential applicants are encouraged to sign up for further technical assistance in the planning and preparation of their project/applications. As applications are submitted, both the HHSAB and staff begin individual project reviews, including a presentation to the HHSAB by the applicants. The Advisory Board then deliberates to establish a final project funding recommendation. In the past, City staff has provided several different funding scenarios to the HHSAB as a starting point for funding discussions. The final funding recommendation is then submitted to City Council. Council, as the actual grant recipient, has the ultimate funding decision and may accept the HHSAB’s recommendation in its entirety, may partially accept it or may make a completely different funding decision. In the past, however, they have accepted the Advisory Board’s recommendation.

At least 30 days prior to the submission of each year’s Consolidated Plan, a Public Hearing is advertised and held, outlining to the public the City’s Projected Use of Funds. Any comments from the hearing are forwarded to the City Council for their consideration. After reviewing the comments received from the public hearing, the Council will approve the adoption of the Fiscal Year’s projects as well as authorize the submission of the Consolidated Plan, containing the projects’ descriptions to HUD.

FUNDING CRITERIA

As part of the Community Development Block Grant Program, the City must expend its CDBG funds on activities which meet the following statutory objectives as stated in the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended:

Benefit Low and Moderate Income Persons

A project or activity meets this objective if (a) it has eligibility requirements that limit the beneficiaries to low and moderate income persons; (b) the majority of the beneficiaries are low and moderate income; (c) it benefits a category of people assumed to be or low or moderate income such as the elderly, the handicapped, battered spouses, abused children, etc.; or (d) it is a project which must be carried out prior to another project that directly benefits low and moderate income persons.

HUD defines low and moderate income as those individuals or families with gross incomes at or below 80% of the Boulder County Median Income figures (attached).

By law, the City must allocate at least 70% of its CDBG funds to projects which benefit low and moderate income persons. The City usually far exceeds this mandate having allocated an average of 94.68% of its funds to meet this objective since 1984.

Prevention or Elimination of Slums and Blighting Influences

If an area is designated by the City as a slum, blighted or deteriorating area under State law, and the local grantee is operating a comprehensive improvement program in that area, then any eligible activity conducted in that are is deemed to prevent slums or blight.

If, however, a project is designed to eliminate detrimental conditions outside of an approved area as described above, an activity meets this objective only if it removes the specific incidence of blight or decay through acquisition, demolition, historic preservation, relocation or rehabilitation (only to the extent necessary to eliminate conditions detrimental to public health and safety).

Meet an Urgent (Emergency) Need

A project meets this objective if it is designed to alleviate a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community. The project must be (a) of recent origin, (b) unable to be funded by the local government, and (c) unable to be funded from other sources.

In addition to meeting one of the above national statutory objectives, all projects must be “eligible” under Sections 570.201 through 570.206 of the CDBG administrative regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Part 24) (attached). Eligible activities include a broad range of projects, including: acquisition, disposition, construction of certain public facilities, clearance and demolition, public services, relocation, rehabilitation and preservation, economic development, planning and urban environmental design, and administration of the grant.

After a positive determination of compliance with statutory objectives and regulatory eligibility, all projects must be consistent with overall City plans and policies. Individually, projects must also be consistent with the City’s community development objectives.

All projects are then considered against a variety of criteria, some of which include:

If you have any questions you may contact Kathy Fedler, CDBG and Affordable Housing Programs Coordinator at 303-651-8736, or via e-mail at kathy.fedler@ci.longmont.co.us.

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