Community Development Block Grant
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides Northampton with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, under the Housing and Community Act. Northampton is an "entitlement" city, so there is no competitive application to receive the funds. CDBG funds must be awarded primarily to projects, programs, and services that improve the lives of the city’s low- and moderate-income residents (individuals or families whose annual income does not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as determined by HUD) and to urgent needs (i.e., COVID-19). A CDBG-funded activity must provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing; provide a suitable living environment, or expand economic opportunities. (See CDBG-Eligible Census Blocks Map for areas that are majority low- and moderate-income.) Clear here for HUD's Northampton profile.
- Benefit people with low and moderate incomes. People with low- and moderate-incomes (LMI) are defined as those individuals or families whose annual income does not exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI) as determined by H.U.D. Seventy percent of CDBG funds must expended toward
- Prevent or eliminate slum and blight areas or spot blight. Slums or blighted areas and spot blight of specific conditions of blight or physical decay outside of a slum area,
- Address an urgent community development need (typically after a natural disaster) must pose a serious and immediate threat to the community's health and welfare.
Eligible Activities to meet National Objectives
- Public Facilities and Improvements: acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of municipally-owned facilities, except as noted below and facilities used by the public such as homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, halfway houses, group homes, temporary shelters for disaster victims, and handicap accessibility improvements at those facilities.
- Public Services– programs that assist eligible populations with services such as job training and employment, child care, health care, drug abuse, education, fair housing, energy conservation, recreation, and crime prevention (subject to a cap of 15% of CDBG award).
- Removal of Architectural Barriers: special projects to increase accessibility for those with disabilities.
- Housing: projects involving acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, energy conservation, water conservation, housing program delivery costs, and code enforcement.
- Historic Preservation: not eligible except for buildings utilized for the general conduct of government.
- Economic Development: acquisition, construction, rehabilitation of commercial or industrial buildings or structures, assistance to for-profit and non-profit entities necessary and appropriate, special or community economic development activities that provide a public benefit, loans/grants, job creation/retention, job training, micro-enterprise assistance.
CDBG Ineligible Activities
- Neither benefit low and moderate-income persons nor address slums or blight
- Improvements to buildings or portions thereof used for government general conduct, except for the removal of architectural barriers or historic preservation.
- General government expenses, including operation and maintenance. Political activities.
- Rental assistance or other direct income payments to individuals.
Determining Project Eligibility
- Low and Moderate Income Area Benefit: the project meets the identified needs of Low and Moderate (LM) income persons residing in an area where at least 51% of those residents are L/M income persons, according to the US Census Bureau. The benefits of this type of activity are available to all persons in the area, regardless of income e.g. street, park, and other infrastructure improvements.
- L/M Limited Clientele (LMI): the project benefits a specific group of people (rather than all residents of a designated area), at least 51% of whom are L/M income persons. The following groups are presumed to be L/M, per HUD: abused children, elderly persons, battered spouses, homeless, handicapped, and illiterate persons. All public services are L/M limited clientele.
- L/M Housing (LMH): the project adds or improves permanent residential housing structures occupied by L/M income households upon completion. Housing can be either rental or owner-occupied units in either single or multi-family buildings; rental units for L/M income persons must be available at affordable rents. Examples: acquisition of property, rehabilitation of existing housing, conversion of non-residential structures into housing. Note: New housing construction is generally not an eligible activity, although site acquisition and site improvements are eligible.
- L/M Jobs (LMJ): the project creates or retains permanent jobs, at least 51% of which are taken by L/M income persons or considered available to L/M income persons. Examples: loans to new businesses, assistance to existing businesses to expand operations.
- Micro-Enterprise Assistance: the project assists in establishing a micro-enterprise or assisting persons developing a micro-enterprise (a micro-enterprise is defined as having five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the business). This activity must benefit L/M persons or jobs as defined in previous sections.
- Slums and Blight Area: projects address areas with conditions of physical deterioration, decay, and environmental contamination. Spot Blight project will prevent or eliminate specific conditions of blight or physical decay outside a slum area. Activities are limited to clearance, historic preservation, and rehabilitation of buildings, but only to the extent necessary to eliminate conditions detrimental to public health and safety.
- Public Facilities and Improvements: Project descriptions must include the nature of the work to be undertaken and the location(s). They must identify the specific activities to be carried out with CDBG funds to meet regulatory requirements. Example: Street improvements consisting of the sidewalk, paving, curb, and gutters will be carried out at specific areas within low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Eligibility found under 24 CFR 570.201 (c).
- Public Services: Public services are required to benefit low and moderate-income persons directly; therefore, each proposal must describe how low and moderate-income populations will be targeted and documented. Public services do not includepolitical activities, payments to individuals for their food, clothing, rent, utilities, other income payments, physical improvements, or any other qualifying activity as eligible under another category. Eligibility found under 24 CFR 570.201(e). The service provided must be specific, and its targeted clientele clearly identified.
- Acceptable: Senior Meals: Noon meals will be delivered Monday through Friday to approximately 80 senior citizens residing at the housing authority.
- Unacceptable: Senior Services: A variety of services will be offered to meet the needs of low and moderate-income elderly)
- Housing Activities: may be eligible under several regulatory citations depending on the activity's nature (acquisition, rehabilitation, construction, etc.). Housing activity descriptions must include information on the targeted population or areas (e.g., elderly, very-low-income), the type(s) of units that qualify or will be affected (e.g., single-family, multi-family), and whether the assistance is for owner-occupied, renter-occupied or publicly-owned units.
- Economic Development: the project must be a “wise public investment” and provide a “public benefit”; the project costs must be reasonable, and the project must be financially feasible; must meet the area benefit, create/retain jobs, or benefit L/M clientele. Eligibility found under under 24 CFR 570.203, 570.204, and 570.209. Some economic activities may be eligible under public improvements or planning/administration activities.
- Acceptable: Business counseling and advocacy services to develop business and financial plans and operating procedures will be provided to 20 micro-enterprise businesses meeting the L/M benefit criteria located or seeking to locate in Northampton.
CDBG Outcomes Assessments
HUD requires recipients of Federal funding to assess the outcomes of programs and activities. A Performance Measurement System has been designed to establish and track measurable goals and objectives. All applicants selected for funding will be required to comply with the Performance Measurement System. Choose one objective and one outcome.
Objectives: The proposed activity meets which one of the following objectives? To answer, first determine the purpose of the activity and the larger community need to be addressed?
- Create a suitable living environment: benefit communities, families, or individuals by addressing issues in their living environment (such as poor quality infrastructure) to social issues such as crime prevention, literacy, or elderly health services.
- Provides decent housing: meet individual, family, or community needs and not programs where housing is an element of a larger effort since such programs would be more appropriately reported under a suitable living environment
- Creates economic opportunities: economic development, commercial revitalization, or job creation
Outcomes: The proposed program will provide (select only one). To answer, first determine what changes are expected to occur in clients’ lives and/or the community due to this activity.
- Availability / Accessibility- services, infrastructure, public facilities, housing, or shelters available or accessible to low/moderate-income people, including persons with disabilities. In this category, accessibility refers to physical barriers and making the affordable basics of daily living available and accessible to low/moderate-income people where they live.
- Improve affordability- provide affordability in a variety of ways in the lives of low/moderate-income people. It can include creating or maintaining affordable housing, basic infrastructure hook-ups, or services such as transportation or daycare.
- Improve sustainability- improving communities or neighborhoods, helping to make them livable or viable by providing benefit to persons of low/moderate income or by removing or eliminating slums or blighted areas through multiple activities or services that sustain communities or neighborhoods.
Performance Measurement Outcome Statement: Summarize why the proposed activity is needed and what outcomes will be achieved from the proposed project. Outcomes are the changes you expect to occur in clients’ lives and/or community due to the proposed activity. A complete statement includes output (quantified) + outcome (from above) + activity (description) + objective.
Examples: 52 households will have new access to public sewer to create a suitable living environment, OR 7 households will be able to afford to live in rental housing units created through the conversion of a former mill building to a residence to create decent housing.