CDBG helps communities

By MARLAN JONES,

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

Since 1974, the CDBG program has been one of the largest and most successful programs. It provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1209 general units of local government and states.

The annual CDBG 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 CDBG funds to non-entitlement localities not qualified as entitlement communities.

Over a three year period not less than 70 percent of CDBG 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: 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.

CDBG funds can be used to fund projects focused on improving public infrastructure, housing, administrative and planning, public services, economic development, and property acquisition.

The program is an important tool used to help local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. The CDBG program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the nation.