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Mayor Daniel Rivera and the Office of Planning and Development joined national efforts to recognize Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program during National Community Development Week, April 22-26, 2019.
Spearheaded by the National Community Development Association, this week-long celebration brings together citizens, elected officials, media, program staff, sub-recipients and beneficiaries, providing an opportunity to educate the public about the CDBG and HOME programs, and highlight the impact that these critically needed federal funds have on communities across the nation, including Lawrence.
This celebration featured a bus tour on Friday, April 26, 2019, where Mayor Rivera and staff from the Office of Planning and Development showcased a number of housing development and infrastructural projects, public service programs and small businesses supported by the CDBG and HOME programs. Joined by members of the federal and state delegations, the bus tour concluded with the a meet & greet lunch, followed by a brief program at the Duck Mill Apartments, 3 Union street Lawrence, MA, one of the local housing development projects funded by the HOME program. During the event, Mayor Rivera presented a proclamation in recognition of National Community Development Week, and Congresswoman Lori Trahan highlighted the importance of supporting and advocating for an increase in these federal funds.
For more than 40 years, CDBG has provided local communities with an important source of funds to address affordable housing and community and economic development needs. The CDBG program provides grants to over 1,200 local governments creating a neighborhood approach that improves the physical, economic and social conditions in communities.
Since 1992, the HOME program has provided grants to over 600 local participating jurisdictions to create safe, sanitary, and affordable housing in communities nationwide. Among the housing development projects funded last year with the City’s HOME dollars are five affordable homeownership units at Union Street and Milford Street developed by Lawrence CommunityWorks, 276 rental units at 5 Franklin Street (PAC 10 Loft) developed by Reed Realty Advisors, as well as infrastructural support for the development of another four affordable homeownership units at Mason Street and Franklin Street, by Habitat for Humanity.
For every dollar of CDBG and HOME funding invested, another $4.09 and $4.38 are leveraged respectively, in private and public funding, bringing additional vital resources to local communities.
Both programs are administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unfortunately, the CDBG and HOME programs have seen funding reductions in the past several years. In FY 2010, CDBG was funded nationally at $3.990 billion and HOME was funded at $1.825 billion. CDBG is now funded at $3.3 billion nationally and HOME at $1.25 billion. Funding reductions are further compounded by the addition of new entitlement communities across the nation for the coming fiscal year, which resulted in a reduction on the overall CDBG allocations. The City of Lawrence was also impacted by funding reductions in the CDBG and HOME allocations for Fiscal Year 2020.
“CDBG and HOME funds are an important resource for cities like Lawrence to have in their tool belt to help provide decent and affordable housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities for our residents. It is critical that Congress support an increase in funding for both of these programs, to ensure that communities like Lawrence receive adequate funding that more appropriately address the high level of need,” said Vilma Martínez-Dominguez, Community Development Director.
Nonetheless, Lawrence takes full advantage of these federal resources annually. “Without these federal funds, we would not be able to support services to low-moderate income residents such as youth employment, adult education and ESOL classes, down payment assistance for first time homebuyers, lead abatement for homeowners, and important infrastructure projects such as park renovations. CDBG and HOME funds play a critical role in making Lawrence a better place to live, work and play,” said Mayor Rivera.
To learn about programs that create safe, decent, and affordable housing, support program services, promote economic development, and fund public infrastructure projects visit www.cityoflawrence.com, or contact the Office of Planning & Development at (978) 620-3510.