CDBG public needs hearing set for Tuesday

This year’s Community Development Block Grant process is underway and on Tuesday’s the City Commission will conduct the public needs hearing.

The CDBG and HOME Investment Partnership programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the agency requires a public hearing seeking input on community needs that can be addressed with CDBG funding support.

Staff will use comments from the hearing and the community needs study that was completed earlier this year to develop recommendations for funding priorities as part of the annual action plan. Those funding priorities and the plan must have a commission vote to be submitted to HUD. That decision is scheduled for the May 21 meeting.

Tom Micuda, deputy planning director, shared the results of the community survey with commissioners during a March meeting.

The results showed that the top three priorities for CDBG funding are residential housing rehabilitation, economic development and public improvements.

CDBG process underway for 2019 funding cycle

Notice of the hearing was posted on the city website, published in the paper and given to residents of the Great Falls Housing Authority, the nine neighborhood councils, local non-profits and city departments.

CDBG and HOME programs are federal programs administered by HUD to help fund local programs including affordable housing, public service, economic development and public infrastructure projects.

City continuing tweaks to CDBG process to avoid conflicts of interest

The funds are aimed at programs that assist low and moderate income people in their communities. State and local governments receive funding from HUD based on a formula derived from population and housing statistics.

The hearing allows the public to share ideas on how the federal funds can be used to addressed community needs and revitalization. It is not meant to be a format for agencies to lobby for their own grant applications.

HUD closed case with city over CDBG conflicts of interest

“Individuals are encouraged to speak on housing and nonhousing community development issues in the city, and especially, the effect of these issues on low and moderate income persons. CDBG funds can be used for a wide range of community development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development, energy conservation and improved community facilities and services. HOME grant funds can be used for affordable home ownership programs, including development of new homes, loan financing, and affordable multi-family rental housing development,” according to the staff report.

Last year, the City received $776,621 in CDBG and $285,831 in HOME funds.

The city’s allocation for this year isn’t yet know, but staff noted in their report that additional past allocations of HOME funds have been accumulating due to a lack of new HOME funded affordable housing projects being requested from either nonprofit or for-profit housing developers.

City making another adjustment to CDBG process for appeals

Those funds had also been locked by HUD while a separate issue was being working out between HUD, the city and NeighborWorks Great Falls. Last week, the city was notified that those funds had been unlocked.