City to hold public hearing on proposed CDBG funding
On Tuesday, City Commissioners will be asked to set a public hearing for May 2 to consider the recommended priorities and funding for this year’s use of Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnerships funds.
The hearing is a requirement of the city’s citizen participation plan that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is the agency overseeing both funding programs.
City accepting CDBG grant applications
CDBG and HOME programs are federal programs designed to help fund local community development programs including affordable housing, public service agency assistance, economic development and public infrastructure projects.
The primary goal of these programs is to assist low and moderate income persons in Great Falls, according to the city planning department.
City seeking comment on HUD plan
State and local governments receive funding from HUD based on a formula derived from population and housing statistics, according to city staff.
The proposed annual action plan focuses on public services; affordable housing; housing rehabilitation; fair housing; economic development; public facilities and improvements; planning and administration; CDBG slum and blight removal.
The annual action plan also estimates the allocation of CDBG and HOME funds for each priority category and the number of individuals who may be assisted by each priority.
CDBG funds awarded for Nat demolition, park upgrades
To develop this year’s annual action plan, the city held a public needs hearing in November; information regarding the priorities and schedule for public participation was distributed to neighborhood councils and the commission in March; a 30-day public comment period on the proposed plan ran from March 6 to April 5; and the public hearing staff is asking commissioners to set for May 2.
The city received comments from 10 people during the 30-day public comment period.
City holding needs hearing for CDBG, HOME funding programs
After the November public needs hearing in November, the city accepted funding applications through Jan. 6.
The city received nine applications for CDBG funds and of those, seven were deemed eligible for the funding.
The following applications were received, according to the city:
The eligible requests were reviewed by the city’s grant committee and scored prior to an in-person meeting on Jan. 23.
The process allowed for a combined average score to be provided and reviewed with group discussion during the meeting.
City approves CDBG, HOME plans 
One committee member recused himself from scoring and discussing one of the applications.
This is the list of applications along with the combined average scores:
The committee is recommending the following projects for funding:
According to city staff, the Boys and Girls Club application is proposed to start before the next CDBG funding cycle and funding is available this year, so the project will be brought before the commission with a staff recommendation for full funding.
The federal regulations:
- only allow for 15 percent of an entitlement’s total allocation to be awarded to public service grant activities;
- allows for a maximum of 20 percent for administrative expenses which the city allocates for the administration of the programs to take pressure off the city’s general fund, according to staff.
The city still has funding from the current program year and some of those funds will be allocated to the requests so that they receive the maximum funding allowed by regulation, according to staff.
City seeking public comment on CDBG, HOME plans 
HUD released the formula allocation for each jurisdiction in February and the city is expected to receive $782,543 in CDBG funding and $299,318 in HOME funding for the upcoming funding cycle.
HOME funding applications will continue to be accepted on a year-round basis as HOME funding does not have the timeliness expenditure deadline that CDBG funding does, according to staff.
In the grant year from July 2021 to June 30, 2022, commissioners awarded a CDBG public services grant for $16,000 to Montana Legal Services, which provides free civil legal assistance to low income individuals in an effort to prevent eviction and homelessness, according to the city.
NWGF receives $6.1 million in low income housing tax credits for Baatz Building renovation
The previous grant cycle, the commission awarded a $60,000 CDBG public services grant to Alliance for Youth, which provides meals, transportation, addiction and suicide prevention service to youth who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and/or have experiences child abuse, according to the city.
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