On Wednesday, May 24, NAHRO attended the roundtable discussion: The Importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) programs. The House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), as well as Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MOS) led the roundtable to discuss the Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, which currently eliminates both of these essential housing and community development programs. The Ranking Members facilitated conversations with community leaders to stress the significance of the programs in regards to housing, infrastructure, economic development, public health resources, and safety in various communities.
- The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of the City of Gary, Indiana
- The Honorable David P. Helms, Mayor of the Town of Marion, Virginia
- Robin Hughes, President & CEO, Abode Communities: Los Angeles, CA
- Bonnie Moore, Director of Community Development, City of Shreveport, Louisiana and President, National Community Development Association
- The Honorable Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Renee Price, Commissioner of Orange County, North Carolina
- Bill Shelton, Director, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Council of State Community Development Agencies
- Schroeder Stribling, Executive Director, N Street Village: Washington, D.C.
Maxine Waters headed the conversation and pinpointed how communities depend on CDBG and HOME and shared these programs’ nationwide achievements. For example, the 1.23 million units of housing since 1990 that have been produced with HOME funds. CDBG and HOME funding is needed for not only housing, but also for public health sustainability, as Rep. Kildee emphasized that CDBG funding could have been used to help prevent the Flint water crisis. The connection to a much larger health issue and the strong emphasis on how each community using CDBG and HOME funds provides a life support for the neediest during disaster recovery plans and as Bill Shelton described, “not to rebuild docks for resident’s yachts after Hurricane Katrina.” Data can be used to show the impact how many programs the funds serve to promote importance with measurable outcomes. Programs include the Boys and Girls Club, Summer Bike Program, and overtime patrol officers to keep the community safe and engaged.
It was stated that for every $1.00 of CDBG attracts another $3.65 in other private and public investments. Panelist shared success stories where CDBG and HOME program funds helped with homelessness outreach, soup kitchen, case management development, and ability to use funds to generate more funds for public services. For example, Shreveport, LA has seen a nineteen percent decrease in chronic homelessness due to their CDBG funded program.
Questions from the audience raised on Foster Youth accentuated the need for these programs for children who would otherwise be on the streets. All members conversed the positive impact the program had for the youth through after school programs, summer camps, and Foster Youth. Youth and veteran programs nationwide receive funding from these programs and these vulnerable populations need to see additional funding, not cuts to their funding stream.
The HOME and CDBG coalition leaders were at the roundtable to engage in much needed advocacy during this time of threatened budget cuts to vital community programs. In the efforts of representing the programs each community is encouraged to quantify the outcomes to help represent the importance of the grant. Success stories shared from leaders from both urban and rural areas nationwide was indicative of the impact of the CDBG and HOME funding for communities. There is serious opposition for the President’s budget proposal and collaboration for action to display the significance of the programs.