CDBG Impact Stories in Washington County, Minnesota

During National Community Development Week, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

CDBG is a flexible federal program and Washington County, Minnesota has used CDBG dollars to strengthen their communities through a wide variety of projects:

  • Affordable senior housing so that the elderly population may comfortably age in place;
  • zero percent home improvement loans for families and seniors to fund repairs that these homeowners might not otherwise be able to afford; and
  • an expanded local food bank so that additional fresh produce and meats are available to their growing number of clients.
Project name Piccadilly Square Senior Housing BuildingPiccadilly Square
Location Mahtomedi, Minnesota
District MN-04
Project year 2015
Use of CDBG funds Soil remediation for redevelopment
Project Description The Piccadilly Square Senior Housing Building is a 79-unit affordable senior housing development for seniors 62 or older with incomes at or below $35,000. Developed through the joint effort of the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and a private developer, CDBG funds were used for soil remediation of 3 acres for redevelopment of a former restaurant site at the edge of downtown Mahtomedi.

Piccadilly Square enables seniors to age in place. A senior service coordinator is available to all tenants to proactively problem solve issues affecting seniors ability to live well and safely in their units.  Building design includes: 5 wheelchair accessible units and 9 units with accessible communication features for residents who are deaf or hearing impaired; roll-in showers in all units; ample space in unit and common area spaces for walker/wheelchair mobility; no threshold curb at main entry; and two elevators.

Target population Low-income, elderly
Amount of CDBG funds $352,709
Other project funds; leverage $14,078,516; 1:98. HOME, 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Tax Exempt bonds, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Metropolitan Council Livable Community Act funds, and City fee waivers.
Jobs created 28 temporary jobs
Project impact Not only does the apartment complex allow low-income seniors to comfortably age in place (full occupancy of the 79-unit building is expected in summer of 2017), but this project has contributed to the beautification of the downtown area. The restaurant previously located on the site had been shuttered since 2005 and was badly deteriorating. The project called for razing the building and extensive environmental cleanup of the soil. City officials expect Piccadilly Square to “spur things happening in the downtown area.”
Contact Washington County Community Development Agency BDacy@wchra.com
Project name Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Loan ProgramWashington Co Loan Program
Location Throughout Washington County, Minnesota
District MN-02, MN-04, MN-06
Project year Yearly
Use of CDBG funds Homeowner housing rehabilitation
Project description Administered by the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC), this program offers deferred, 0% interest loans to homeowners in Washington County for home improvements to low-income families or seniors that might not otherwise be able to afford repairs.
Target population Families and the elderly
Amount of CDBG funds $207,000
Project impact 10 to 15 homes a year
Contact www.gmhchousing.org
   
Project name Hugo Good Neighbors Food ShelfHugo Food Shelf
Location Hugo, Minnesota
District MN-04
Project year 2014
Use of CDBG funds Land acquisition for construction so that HGNFS could move into a new and improved space.
Project description Opened in May 2009, the Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf (HGNFS) was started by a group of volunteers in response to the needs of their neighbors, whom were struggling to meet their financial obligations and provide food to their families. It was critical to the community that the food shelf conduct itself with a philosophy of operational transparency and as an independent, stand-alone Food Shelf, not affiliated with any other private organization. With this in mind, and with the full support of the City of Hugo, HGNFS was developed as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Significant growth of HGNFS over the last seven years spurred the need for a larger space – the previous food shelf had been operating out of a small garage that housed the Hugo Fire Department’s fire truck over 30 years ago and had inadequate heating and cooling and no running water.
Target population Extremely low-income families, seniors, youth, homeless.
Amount of CDBG funds $70,000
Other project funds; leveraging Bank Loan $202,414; 1:4
Project impact In the early days, HGNFS served, on average, served 10 households per month. In 2012, the other food shelf located in the community closed its doors, leaving HGNFS as the sole provider of food shelf service for the growing community. As a result, clients have doubled and they now serve, on average, 125 households per month. Thanks to the CDBG program, the new building has the additional space needed to offer more fresh produce and meats to their clients.
 Contact  www.hugofoodshelf.org
   

National Community Development Week 2017 — April 17-22: Celebrating the Important Work of CDBG and HOME

NAHRO, along with fellow members of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coalition, will be celebrating National Community Development Week, April 17-22, 2017. Over the course of this week, communities across the country will celebrate the work of the CDBG Program and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program.

The CDBG program provides grants to over 1,200 state and local governments and funds activities such as housing rehabilitation, business assistance, senior services, and infrastructure – to name a few. These activities are primarily targeted to low-income persons and households. Every $1.00 of CDBG leverages another $3.65 in other funding; bringing additional resources to communities that support jobs, businesses and, most importantly, the people who live in these communities.

HOME provides grants to over 600 State and local governments to create safe, decent and affordable housing, both rental and homeowner. HOME is a vital federal housing program that allows communities to leverage $4.20 of public and private dollars for every HOME dollar invested.

CDBG and HOME have been proposed for elimination in the President’s FY 2018 HUD budget and National Community Development Week provides the opportunity for Congressional Members and the community to see first-hand the results of these programs by touring projects, meeting with state and local staff and interacting directly with beneficiaries served by the programs.

NAHRO is urging members a to participate in National Community Development Week by supporting local project tours, issuing proclamations, engaging and educating Congressional Members on the programs, and reaching out to the media to promote the impact of CDBG and HOME. Here’s what you can can do:

Learn

Advocate

  • Contact and engage with your members of Congress to schedule meetings and plan a site visit of a local projects to show how these programs have helped your community. Remember –  Congress is in recess through April 23 and lawmakers will be back in their districts
  • Send letters to your legislators using NAHRO’s pre-drafted Advocacy Action Center letter telling Congress to take action today to finalize FY 2017 spending and pass a full-year Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill.
  • Join over 2,000 local, state and national organizations and sign on to the CDBG support letter seeking $3.3 billion for CDBG in FY 2018. This letter will be sent to Appropriations Committee leaders in May.

Spread the Word

  • Share your impact story by writing and submitting a Letter to the Editor or op-ed to your local newspaper. Make sure to mention your members of Congress so it gets picked up in their daily clips.
  • Join @NAHROnational on Twitter and elevate awareness of the need for – and the impact of – CDBG and HOME through tweets. Make sure to use the following hashtags: #CDBG #CDBGImpact #Fight4CDBG #HOME #HOMEImpact, and to tag your House and Senate representatives.
  • Follow and share the NAHRO Blog where we will post success stories of CDBG and HOME submitted by NAHRO members throughout week.

Connect with NAHRO

  • If your impact story was published in your local newspaper or you meet with your member of Congress, let us know! Please email Jenny Hsu at jhsu@nahro.org with a description of your advocacy efforts so that we can highlight your efforts with Congress once they are back in session.

CDBG Coalition Members: NAHRO, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Community Development Association, Council of State Community Development Agencies, National Association for County Community and Economic Development, National Association of Development Organizations, American Planning Association, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Habitat for Humanity International, Feeding America, YWCA USA, Enterprise Community Partners, Rebuilding Together, National Recreation and Park Association, National Association of Regional Councils, National Urban League, International Economic Development Council, Heartland Alliance, The Trust for Public Land, and National Development Council