The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) was created in 1974 to provide communities with the resources to address a wide range of local community development needs. The program is one of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) longest continuously running programs and provides annual grants on a formula basis to over 1200 units of local governments and States.The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) was created in 1974 to provide communities with the resources to address a wide range of local community development needs. The program is one of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) longest continuously running programs and provides annual grants on a formula basis to over 1200 units of local governments and States. The CDBG program was created to be flexible so grant allocations could address the most urgent local needs. Today, the program funds workforce development, homelessness prevention programs, public works and facilities improvements, and services for the elderly, at-risk youth, and low- and moderate-income families across the country.
One of the most successful elements of the CDBG program is the creation of public-private partnerships in communities where they might not otherwise exist. For every CDBG dollar invested in communities, $3.65 is leveraged by the private sector, bringing much needed investment and business development to distressed areas. These funds are also often used as gap financing to bring complex community development and housing deals together such as Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects and Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversions. CDBG funds are the cement that holds these projects together, and without it many community improvement projects simply would not happen.
A Success Story
An example of successful CDBG community partnerships and innovation can be seen through the NeighborWorks Salt Lake (NWSL) Rebuild and Revitalize Blight program in Salt Lake County, Utah. This program funds homeownership services and real estate development activities in blighted areas, providing mortgages for home purchases and home improvement, down payment assistance, and housing counseling services. The core mission of Rebuild and Revitalize is to revitalize blight and create neighborhoods of choice.
The program utilizes funds from NeighborWorks America, Local Tax Increment Financing, CDBG funds from Salt Lake County, and private sector donors, including financial institutions. NWSL has used this public-private partnership model for over 35 years through their various programs, and it has had an enormous impact on the community.
NWSL partner Scott Anderson, President and CEO of Zions Bank said of the partnerships, “I think it’s remarkable when you think over the last 35 years what has been accomplished with this public-private partnership with NeighborWorks.” He continued, “It shows the faith that private businesses have in this partnership. They know each dollar will be spent to improve the lives of people by giving them affordable housing.”
A Powerful Tool
These partnerships have allowed the CDBG program to remain an effective and efficient HUD program over the last 43 years. These dollars are vital to every state, county, city, and local community in the country. The CDBG program continues to be one of the most powerful tools available for developing comprehensive, tailored community development solutions at the local level.
About Heather: Heather Voorman is the Policy Director for the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED). She received her B.S. from South Dakota State University and her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Prior to joining NACCED, Heather worked as the Consolidated Plan and Community Development Coordinator for the State of Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development. Additionally, her previous professional experience includes Community Outreach Specialist for The Groundwater Foundation and Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives handling topics including housing, small business, and regulatory issues.
About NACCED: The National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) was established as an affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo) in 1978 to develop the technical capacity of county government practitioners that administer federally-funded affordable housing, community development, and economic development programs benefiting low- and moderate-income households.
NACCED provides information, training and representation to counties receiving direct assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs.
NACCED serves as voice in Washington on budgetary, programmatic, and regulatory issues pertaining to community development, economic development, and affordable housing.