Grant funds available for low- and moderate-income programs
By Martha Marteney-Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Apr. 6, 2011
The town of Manchester is seeking applications from departments, agencies and organizations for Community Development Block Grants. Based on the age of housing stock, poverty levels and population, Manchester is considered an entitlement community, and administers the CDBG funds on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program is managed by the town’s planning department under direct oversight by the board of directors and the town manager.
Earlier this year, meetings were held for public participation and input on the CDBG programs. The meetings provided information about programs funded in the past and on the availability of funding for the future. “I’m very impressed that people are willing to come out to the meetings,” said Heather Donoghue, CDBG program manager. “Not all communities have this money. It’s important for the residents to feel this program will make a difference to the community.”
According to Donoghue, up to 15 percent of the available funds can be used for public service projects, such as job training programs for certified nurses or pharmacy assistants, providing for a clinician at the homeless shelter or nutritional programs in the schools. Donoghue noted that the job training programs have been successful for both skills training and job placement. “The goals are far-reaching,” she noted, “to increase family income.” Twenty percent of the CDBG funds are directed toward administrative costs incurred by the town for the implementation and oversight of the program.
The bulk of the CDBG funds are used for capital projects, such as sidewalk projects for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and senior accessibility. Capital projects must be located within CDBG eligible areas of town, as identified by the federal guidelines for low or moderate income households.
Past CDBG-funded housing projects include removal of lead paint and correcting safety and code issues. “It’s a good opportunity to increase the quality of the housing stock,” noted Donoghue. There are also funds reserved for emergency repair or replacement of heating systems. Working with Rebuilding Together, CDBG also provides funding for the replacement of roofs. The housing rehabilitation programs not only provide safer homes, but also improves the look of the housing, which is a benefit for the whole neighborhood.
CDBG funds also support the Earned Income Tax Credit program by providing financial assistance for the advertising and outreach program and for the staff to help filers with the completion of the application.
The deadline for filing applications is April 15 for funding of programs during the federal fiscal year, which runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Visit the town’s website at www.ci.manchester.ct.us/planning/HousingandCDBG.cfm for details on the program, as well as the grant application forms.