June 3, 2009 > How will Union City Spend its Community Development Block Grant?
How will Union City Spend its Community Development Block Grant?
By Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson
Union City Council adopted its 2009-10 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan on May 12 and approved submittal of its application for funding to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The city has belonged to the CDGB program for 20 years.
The CDBG program provides resources to address a wide range of distinctive community development needs. Established in 1974, it is one of HUD's longest-running programs. Annual CDBG grants are awarded on a formula-basis to 1,180 public sector bodies, viz. local government and state.
Union City's 2009-10 CDBG budget is $760,160. It includes a $644,104 HUD allocation, 1% more than last year, anticipated income of $24,000 from rehabilitation loan repayments and $92,056 from the previous year's funds.
The proposed Action Plan observes HUD's 15% Public Service and 20% Administration expenditure limits. CDGB monies will fund the Action Plan's projects and programs. There is no impact to the City's General Fund.
The city will use federal, state, local and private assistance to increase and preserve the availability of affordable rental housing for low and moderate income households, assist low and moderate income first-time homebuyers and reduce housing discrimination. The city also wishes to increase availability of special needs housing and to maintain, improve and expand the capacity of housing, shelter and services for the homeless, such as integrated healthcare, employment services and other related services. The city will work with other jurisdictions to address housing and homelessness.
The CDBG funds various programs in Union City including the successful Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program conducted in partnership with the Alameda County Housing and Conservation Department. The program provides housing rehabilitation loans to low and moderate-income households throughout the city.
There are three aspects to this plan. First, the Minor Home Repair Program provides $500-$2,000 grants for exterior paint and clean-up, improved accessibility, seismic retrofit and security locks. Second, the Major Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program provides low-interest rehabilitation loans up to $35,000, or more, when appropriate, for repairs and improvements to owner-occupied properties. Third, the Mobile Home Grant Program provides $500-$2,000 grants for repairs or seismic retrofitting to owner-occupied mobile home units.
CDBG, HOME (Home Investment Partnership Act), Section 108 and Redevelopment Agency funds are earmarked for a Senior Center/Affordable Senior Housing special project. They will finance the acquisition, site clearance and development of affordable housing for seniors.
Some CDBG funds are targeted at public service programs serving low and very low - income households. Centro de Servicios, the longest-established Hispanic social service agency in Southern Alameda County, will receive funding. Union City will continue using the services of Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity (ECHO. ECHO provides housing counseling, education, tenant/landlord counseling and mediation, and a revolving loan fund for short term financial assistance to low and moderate income households.
To provide for neighborhood renewal and stimulate economic growth, the city has adopted an Economic Development Implementation Plan for the Alvarado district. To stabilize and encourage the economy of the Alvarado neighborhood, programs such as public improvement projects, architectural assistance, small business technical assistance and distinctive economic development activities and general support will be employed. These plans can be used in other target areas. It will promote city-wide safety, encourage businesses and benefit low- and moderate-income households.
Union City has procedures to monitor the Action Plan's progress. These include clearly written contracts detailing HUD requirements, on-site visits, progress reports from contractors, audits of contractors, as appropriate, good access to city staff and citizen involvement in the CDGB program's operation.
SOURCE OF CDGB FUNDS
2009-10 Community Development Block Grant $644,104
Income from rehabilitation loan payments $24,000
Prior Year's CDGB Balance $92,056
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE SPENT
Housing Rehabilitation $135,200
Acquisition/Special Projects/Senior Project $370,000
Public Services $99,660
Fair Housing/ECHO $10,000
Economic Development $20,000