Uncertain times ahead for CDBG funding

Communities across the country are anxiously waiting to learn the potential fate of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding program. Funds from the federal program are expected to be cut as much as 62 percent, a move that is being watched closely by Community and Economic Development Coordinator Tina Gradizzi. "At first [President Obama] proposed a 20 percent cut in CDBG funding. Then the Republican Caucus wanted to wipe out the whole line item under the budget completely. Now the House of Representatives has proposed a 62 percent cut in CDBG funding. All of this is to try to cut the federal budget. CDBG is a federal grant program handed down to the state to administer," Gradizzi said. Gradizzi explained that the City of St. Marys is considered an entitlement for CDBG funding, with the amount received being based on the community's population. The website for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) explains that the organization "determines the amount of each entitlement grant by a statutory dual formula which uses several objective measures of community needs, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas."Additionally, Gradizzi remarked that in order for a project to qualify for CDBG funding, it must meet one of three national objectives: provide a benefit to low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight or address an urgent need.