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Federal Budget Cuts Hit Home

Recent cuts to the federal budget will negatively impact community development grants.

The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) distributes federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to aid local housing programs for low and moderate income households. This program, among others, has been slashed by Congress in recently announced budget cuts.

The nearly $4 billion CDGB program was cut by 20 percent for fiscal year 2011, much less than some groups feared. The Wall Street Journal reported that a House Republican backed bill would have slashed the program by more than 62 percent.

Last year, St. Louis County received $5.5 million dollars in CDBG funds, which it distributed through the Office of Community Development throughout the county, including cities within the county. Municipalities can decide how their share of the funds are used, from demolishing vacant buildings, to improving streets or even historic building preservation, with the main stipulation that funds will help low to moderate income households.

Manchester City Administer Ed Blattner said his city receives around $24,000 each year for rehabbing private properties. Town and Country officials say they do not participate in the program.

Manchester residents in the program receive a no-interest forgivable loan of up to $5,000 to use toward vital home improvements, such as fixing a furnace or repairing a roof. The city does not decide which residents receive the money, or how it is spent. All CDBG funds go through the county’s Office of Community Development and the process of awarding funds is completely confidential. The county also handles bids on construction work.

“We’re never told who is getting the funds,” Blattner said. “We don’t have anything to do with it.”

Blattner said there is a long waiting list in Manchester for those who want to apply for the CDBG funding.

Dan Georges, a grant manager at the Office of Community Development, said the office is still waiting to see how much the budget cuts will affect our region.

Georges said residents must meet certain income requirements, be up to date on their property taxes and live in the home being repaired. The grants are forgiven after five years, as the resident remains in the home.

On the Horizon:

  • The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association will host a RCGA Breakfast with the Gazelles on May 17. The event speaker is Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman and CEO of Centene Corporation. Tickets are $25 for RCGA members and $40 for nonmembers. Call 314-444-1147 to RSVP.
  • The Town and Country-Frontenac Chamber of Commerce is hosting a golf tournament on May 23.  Entry fee is $65 per person and includes refreshments, a goody bag and prizes. Call 314-469-3335 for more information or to reserve your spot.
John M. Izzo May 11, 2011 at 03:54 PM
A great article. Thanks for sharing this information. John Izzo Community Grants Associates john@communitygrantsnow.com

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