The Office of Housing and Community Development is the city’s lead agency for administering programs aimed at improving the neighborhoods and housing stock of low and moderate-income residents. The agency releases a Consolidated Plan on a yearly basis that outlines its programming priorities and budget. The final version of its fiscal year 2016 plan came out yesterday.
While much of the plan is similar, if not identical, to prior years, the level of federal support for community development continues to decline.
“As has been the case for the last number of years, the federal support is lower,” said Paul Chrystie, director of communications at OHCD.
The Community Development Block Grant allocation, for example, which goes toward programs such as street cleaning and commercial corridor improvement, dropped by $260 million. The HOME Program allocation, which funds a broad range of services aimed at providing affordable housing and shelter, dropped by nearly $1 million, or over 10 percent of its total for 2015.
“This year wasn’t horrific compared to past years,” Chrystie said, adding that federal support for the agency is down 46 percent from where it was in 2002.
But the latest drop in funding, Chrystie stressed, should not be taken lightly. Every cut means fewer services for the city’s homeless and those burdened by housing costs or impact of blight and vacancy.
City Council passed an ordinance earlier this month giving OHCD permission to apply for the federal grants, and the agency submitted the final plan (available here) earlier this week to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Image via Flickr user Kaitlin-30-
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