What are Community Development Block Grants?
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) is an entitlement grant awarded to cities and counties through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. HUD) that is based upon need factors including population, income, unemployment level and housing conditions.
Community Development Block Grants are to be used for a wide range of housing and community development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development and improved community facilities and services, and must give “maximum feasible priority” to activities that will benefit low-and moderate-income persons or aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. Funds may also be used to meet other community development needs that present a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community.
Who May Apply for Community Development Block Grants?
Corporations, associations, religious organizations, schools or other agencies with non-profit status under the Internal Revenue Code (Section 501(c)(3), and government non-profits, i.e., public agencies, commissions or authorities, may apply for Community Development Block Grants. All proposed activities must meet eligibility requirements as set forth by U.S. HUD. Because funds are limited, not all organizations that apply will be awarded grants.
Eligible Activities for Community Development Block Grants:
- Acquiring real property (primarily land, buildings, and other permanent improvements to the property) for public purposes. This type of activity might include buying abandoned houses for rehabilitation or an old industrial site in a distressed neighborhood for redevelopment.
- Reconstructing or rehabilitating housing and other property. From homeless shelters to single-family homes and from playgrounds to shopping centers, CDBG enables communities to improve properties that have become less usable, whether due to age, neglect, natural disaster, or changing needs
- Building public facilities and improvements, such as streets, sidewalks, sewers, water systems, community and senior citizen centers and recreational facilities
- Helping people prepare for and obtain employment through education and job training, welfare-to-work activities and other services.
- Assisting for-profit businesses for special economic development activities. Such projects might include micro-enterprise loans to low-income entrepreneurs, assembling land to attract new industry, or business expansion loans to help retain existing businesses that employ low-income workers.
- Providing public services for youth, seniors or the physically challenged. These might include day care centers, youth services and meals on wheels for the elderly, health care facilities, transportation or counseling.
- Carrying out crime reduction initiatives such as establishing neighborhood watch programs, providing extra police patrols, rehabilitating or constructing police substations and clearing abandoned buildings used for illegal activities.
- Assisting low-income homebuyers directly through, for example, down-payment assistance, subsidizing interest rates or helping with closing costs for first-time homebuyers.
- Enforcing local building codes to reverse housing deterioration and other signs of blight.
- Paying for planning and administrative expenses, such as costs relating to development a Consolidated Plan and managing CDBG funds.
Who gives Community Development Block Grants in your community?
- City Governments
- County Government
- Councils of Government (COGS)