This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant Program. The Community Development Block Grant program was enacted into law as part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. The Community Development Block Grant Program’s main purpose is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income people. To this day, the Community Development Block Grant Program remains the principal source of revenue for localities to utilize in devising flexible solutions to prevent physical, economic, and social deterioration in lower-income neighborhoods and communities throughout the nation.
Here’s some additional background on the Community Development Block Grant Program, courtesy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.
About the Program
The Community Development Block Grant Program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. The Community Development Block Grant Program is an important tool for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. The Community Development Block Grant Program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the nation.
The annual Community Development Block Grant appropriation is allocated between states and local jurisdictions called “non-entitlement” and “entitlement” communities respectively. Entitlement communities are comprised of central cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs); metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000; and qualified urban counties with a population of 200,000 or more (excluding the populations of entitlement cities). States distribute Community Development Block Grant funds to non-entitlement localities not qualified as entitlement communities.
HUD determines the amount of each grant by using a formula comprised of several measures of community need, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.
A grantee must develop and follow a detailed plan that provides for and encourages citizen participation. This integral process emphasizes participation by persons of low or moderate income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, slum or blighted areas, and areas in which the grantee proposes to use Community Development Block Grant funds. The plan must provide citizens with the following: reasonable and timely access to local meetings; an opportunity to review proposed activities and program performance; provide for timely written answers to written complaints and grievances; and identify how the needs of non-English speaking residents will be met in the case of public hearings where a significant number of non-English speaking residents can be reasonably expected to participate.
Over a 1, 2, or 3-year period, as selected by the grantee, not less than 70 percent of Community Development Block Grant funds must be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons. In addition, each activity must meet one of the following national objectives for the program: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or address community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.
The Community Development Block Grant Program has made an important contribution to the quality of life for many Americans. Happy 40th birthday, and here’s to many more!