Community Development Block Grant: What You Need to Know

 November 7, 2013
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Hello everyone! Well, we are less than a week away from the much-anticipated launch of our Independent Living Program and Housing Project, and here at M&L we are very excited to finally see everything we have worked so hard for finally come to fruition!

Whenever we talk about this program, we try to emphasize three features of this project that we feel are especially important – firstly, (and most importantly) we have compiled information on different independent living and housing programs from all over the United States – this information includes contact information, funding requirements, and eligibility requirements for each program, among other things. Secondly, this information is organized and categorized by state, so that subscribers can easily access information that is relevant to them, and can quickly and easily compare state housing resources. The third feature that we feel is really important is the addition of a vast array of housing information to this database.

Now, many people have been asking us – what exactly is this “housing information” that we keep referencing? Well, that is a complicated answer – it could be anything! Essentially, everything we come across in our research that we feel might help individuals with their housing search – articles, government policies, advocate organizations, etc. – goes in the database. We have included information such as the definitions of housing options, examples of different housing models, information on how to begin your own grass-roots housing model in your state, articles which cover the latest news in housing for individuals with special needs, and studies which analyze a vast array of topics relevant to the housing issues – and much, much more.

Today, we have decided to give you an example of the type of housing information you may find in the Independent Living Program and Housing Project database, should you subscribe. In this week’s blog, we are going to provide you with a brief explanation and description of the Community Development Block Grant.

What is the Community Development Block Grant?

The Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) is an annual grant offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As one of the longest running grant programs offered by this department, it is intended to help communities by providing resources to address community development needs. According to HUD’s website, it “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 services.”

The CBDG grants have three requirements: the funds being applied for must be intended to help lower-to-moderate income people, and/or to eradicate “slums” or blighted areas, and/or to address urgent threats to health and safety of residents. In order to be eligible for this grant program, applicants must prepare a package that illustrates the need for the funds and provides a plan as to how they would be used. This plan must have been drawn from and emphasize community and citizen participation.

How Can the Community Development Grant Help My Family with Special Needs?

The CBDG program can help individuals with special needs in a number of ways. To begin, the program, as stated, is aimed towards individuals with lower-to-moderate incomes – many individuals with special needs fall into this category. Secondly, one component of the program addresses the development and/or creation of affordable housing – this is a key aspect of the grant that can help individuals with special needs. If there is currently no affordable, decent housing available in a community for a population of people with lower to moderate income, CBDG funds can be used to develop and create housing that fits these individual’s criteria. Thirdly, the funds can be used to renovate currently existing buildings to ensure that they are accessible to individuals with special needs. The renovation of buildings to suit the needs of individuals with disabilities can also open up housing opportunities for these individuals. In addition, advocate and housing organizations that exist to help individuals with special needs can access these funds to continue to develop programs to address the housing crisis for individuals with special needs.

Another component of the CBDG that is especially important to individuals with special needs is the programs commitment to ensuring that recipients comply with Fair Housing regulations.

In January of 2008, a memo released by HUD placed emphasis on CBDG recipients ensuring that the funds being used support Fair Housing Agencies, and that the recipients receiving these funds meet one of the definitions of a fair housing organization.

Fair Housing organizations fall into two categories: Qualified Fair Housing Enforcement Organization (QFHO), or Fair Housing Enforcement Organization (FHO). Both of these categories require that the organization be a private, tax-exempt and charitable, have experience with complaint intake and investigation (QFHO requires two years experience and FHO must be currently engaged in the same activities) and both are required to continue these investigation, complaint intake activities. Essentially, every recipient of these grant funds must ensure that they follow the Fair Housing Act, which means that all the housing programs have to be accessible to individuals with special needs.

How Can I Access this Program?

The CBDG has three eligible grantees: principal cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, other metropolitan areas with populations of at least 50,000, and qualified urban counties with populations of at least 200,000.

So, special interest organizations and groups cannot apply for these funds directly. However, they can be partners with municipalities in order to apply for these funds and carry out a project.

For more information on this program, you visit the CBDG page of the HUD’s website. You can also search for this program through your state government’s website. For example, in Maryland the Department of Housing & Community Development administers the CBDG program.

Thank you for taking the time to drop by our blog today. We hope that you may be able to use this information to help you find suitable and affordable housing for your family member with special needs.

As mentioned, our Independent Living Program and Housing Project launches on November 11th. This database will contain information on grant programs such as the CBDG, housing funding options, and much more information that will be incredibly helpful to you as you search for housing programs and options for your family member. Stay tuned to our website for instructions on how to subscribe and join our Member Directory.

As always, please contact us if you have any questions, or would like more information about housing for individuals with special needs, or financial/life planning for individuals with special needs. We love hearing from you – and don’t forget to drop back next week!

 

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