Stories indexed with the term ‘Community Development Block Grant’

Public Hearing Set for Urban County Plan

At their March 5, 2014 meeting, Washtenaw County commissioners scheduled a public hearing for March 19 to give input for the Washtenaw Urban County 2014-15 action plan. The hearing, set to start at 6:30 p.m. at the county boardroom in downtown Ann Arbor, is intended to solicit feedback about proposed projects and programs that the county intends to implement with federal funding – through community development block grant (CDBG), HOME and emergency shelter grant programs – from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. [.pdf of action plan]

The Urban County is a consortium of Washtenaw County and 18 local municipalities that receive federal funding for low-income neighborhoods. Members include the cities of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline, and 15 townships. “Urban County” … [Full Story]

Urban County Gets Grim Funding Update

Washtenaw Urban County executive committee meeting (Feb. 22, 2011): Leaders of local municipalities got a grim update on Tuesday about looming federal funding cuts that will likely affect projects in many of the county’s low-income neighborhoods.

Mary Jo Callan

Mary Jo Callan, director of the Washtenaw County/city of Ann Arbor office of community development, at Tuesday's meeting of the Washtenaw Urban County. (Photo by the writer.)

“I am bringing you some troubling news,” said Mary Jo Callan, director of the Washtenaw County/city of Ann Arbor office of community development. “Do you want to start with the bad news, or the worst news?”

Callan reported that the two major programs that fund projects for low-income neighborhoods – the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership programs, both operated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – have been targeted by Congress and President Obama for significant cuts in both the current fiscal year and in 2012. Washtenaw County communities receive about $2.4 million annually from the CDBG program alone.

Though at this point it’s unclear exactly what the final federal budget will include, Callan said it’s nearly certain that some funding cuts will occur – her staff is planning for a 10% reduction in grants from those two programs for fiscal 2012. “It’s pretty bleak,” she said. [Full Story]

Washtenaw Gets More Housing Funds

More than $400,000 in unanticipated federal funding – including a $250,000 “green” grant for Avalon Housing‘s Near North in Ann Arbor – allowed board members of the Washtenaw Urban County to boost funding for several low-income housing and community development projects at their April 27 meeting.

Van for Avalon Housing

A van for Avalon Housing, parked at the nonprofit's headquarters in the Northern Brewery building on Jones Drive. Avalon recently received a $250,000 federal "green" grant for its Near North affordable housing development on North Main.

In addition to the grant for Near North – a proposed 39-unit affordable housing development on Main Street just north of downtown – the Urban County also received nearly $180,000 more than anticipated in federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant program for the coming fiscal year.

The board voted to divvy up those additional funds to projects in the Urban County’s three largest jurisdictions – Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. They also approved setting aside nearly $27,000 for as-yet-unspecified human services support, in light of possible cuts in city of Ann Arbor funding to local nonprofits.

The focus on allocations at Tuesday’s meeting prompted this comment from Ypsilanti mayor Paul Schreiber: “It’s a pleasure to sit on a board that has money to spend!” [Full Story]

Greenbelt Explores Support for Small Farms

The main topic of discussion for the Ann Arbor Greenbelt Advisory Commission’s November meeting could be distilled into this: How can the greenbelt program support the development of small farms, and ensure that farm properties remain farms, even when the property changes ownership?

It’s an unlikely resource that might actually be able to help answer those questions: the federal housing programs administered by the Office of Community Development, a joint county/city department.

Jennifer Hall, OCD housing program coordinator, attended the Nov. 4 meeting of the greenbelt group and floated some ideas for how federal funding might provide resources to retain land for the farming community.

The commission also heard from the managing organization of the greenbelt program, The Conservation Fund, about strategies for preserving small farms. [Full Story]