Fund HUD budget fully, CDBG grants included: Conference of Mayors

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 18:07:43 -0700 (PDT)


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FWD  U.S. Newswire - Date: May 26, 1999

GROUPS CALL FOR FULL FUNDING OF HUD'S BUDGET, INCLUDING
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM

SAN FRANCISCO, May 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Members of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, and the
National Community Development Association today called on Congress to
fully fund President Clinton's proposed $28 billion budget for the
Department of Housing and Urban Development, including $4.775 billion
for the Community Development Block Grant Program.

HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo joined members of the groups in San
Francisco today to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. Cuomo said HUD's programs,
which are helping to improve the lives of millions of Americans, will
be able to help even more people with the $2.5 billion budget increase
proposed by President Clinton for Fiscal Year 2000. This includes a $25
million increase for CDBG.

Congress is considering proposals to cut HUD's budget next year.

CDBG funds go to 842 local communities and 147 counties, plus an
additional 3,000 small cities and counties across the nation. CDBG
funds are distributed to every locality with a population of over
50,000, and to every county with a population of at least 200,000.
States also receive CDBG funds for distribution to small towns and
rural counties. HUD estimates 1999 CDBG funds will be used to
rehabilitate or build 198,000 homes and create 145,000 jobs.

"The Community Development Block Grant Program is one of the most
successful ways the federal government provides funding for economic
development and housing programs to communities across the nation,"
Cuomo said. "For 25 years, CDBG funds have built and rehabilitated
homes, fueled business development to create jobs, and improved the
overall health of our nation's communities. Instead of trying to impose
a one-size-fits-all program on every locality, CDBG funds programs
designed by each individual community to best meet unique local needs."

"Mayor Brown is an outstanding example of a local official who has
effectively used CDBG funds to improve housing and spark economic
development and community revitalization," Cuomo said. "His efforts
have created new opportunity for the people of his city."

"CDBG funds have contributed to San Francisco's lower than average
unemployment rate," said Brown, who is also chairman of the Housing and
Community Development Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "Most
recently, we've used CDBG funds to support Visitacion Valley, where
more than 200 low-income people have received job training and
placement."

In 1999, San Francisco will receive more than $25 million in CDBG funds
from HUD. Over the past 25 years, the city has received $598 million
from CDBG.

In the last 25 years, HUD has provided $87 billion in CDBG funds
nationwide. Communities report that about 90 percent of CDBG funds are
used to help people with low- and moderate-incomes.

Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini said: "Salt Lake City has mixed
CDBG funds with local funding and community support to create Our
House, a unique child care center for homeless and low-income children.
Our House provides a stable, nurturing environment for the most
vulnerable members of the community. We could not have done this
without CDBG."

Reno, Nev., Mayor Jeff Griffin said: "One of the biggest issues facing
Reno is how to provide affordable housing for working families. CDBG
money is helping low- and moderate-income owners maintain their
properties through housing rehabilitation, as well as helping low- and
moderate income renters become first-time homeowners."

Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said: "The rapid growth Atlanta has
experienced in the last two decades has posed many challenges to our
city. CDBG funding has helped us meet these challenges, and made
Atlanta a better place to live and work."

Peter McLaughlin, chairman of the Large Urban County Caucus of the
National Association of Counties and a county commissioner from
Hennepin County, Minn., said: "The CDBG Program is an investment in a
better America. At a time when our nation is enjoying record surpluses,
it makes no sense to cut a program that will contribute to the future
well-being of people and communities throughout our nation."

Leona Plaugh -- president of the National Community Development
Association, which represents municipal community development officials
-- and a community planning official with the City of Columbia, S.C.,
said: "A strong CDBG Program is vital to keeping communities across the
nation strong and healthy. Cuts in this program would end important
local initiatives and hurt many hard-working families by denying them
help to get <A NAME=hit4 HREF=#hit1>homes</A> and jobs.&quot;

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 created CDBG to help
local communities set their own priorities for using federal funds.
CDBG funds can be used for a variety of activities that are directed
toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improved
community facilities and services.

Local governments develop a Consolidated Plan outlining the strategy
for distributing CDBG and other non-competitive formula funds from HUD
throughout the community. The Consolidated Planning process, developed
by Cuomo when he served as HUD assistant secretary for Community
Planning and Development, ensures that local residents have strong
input into the creation of comprehensive, community-based housing and
economic development plans. The process gives communities maximum local
flexibility, while reducing burdensome regulatory requirements.

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