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Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) FAQ

What is the Community Development Block Grant?

The City of Allentown CDBG program is funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The purpose of CDBG funds is to provide resources to help cities counter problems of housing affordability, blight, economic decline, and the shortfall of social services to low- and moderate-income persons, the homeless, and persons with special needs. The principal mission of the program is to benefit persons of low-moderate income, including the elderly, disabled, families, and homeless.

What is required to receive CDBG funding?

CDBG community development projects must be located within designated eligible neighborhoods, target areas, or demonstrate a benefit to lower income persons and, in most cases, must be undertaken by either the City or a non-profit organization 501 c. In addition, the program or project must meet a national objective of the program and must be an eligible activity. Projects or programs must also be consistent with identified needs in the City's 5-Year Consolidated Plan.

Funding requests are made through a formal application process that is competitive. Funding awards are made by the City Council through a public hearing process.

What types of services and projects are eligible?

A variety of services and projects are eligible under the CDBG program. Among them are public services to low-moderate income persons in the City, and various rehabilitation, public improvement, and infrastructure construction projects. The amount of funds expended on public services cannot exceed 15% of the year's grant amount.

Activities Eligible for CDBG (not limited to):
  • Acquisition of real property
  • Relocation and demolition
  • Rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures
  • Construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes
  • Public services, within certain limits
  • Activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources
  • Provision of assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities
Each activity must meet one of the following national objectives for the program: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or address community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.

When does the CDBG funding cycle begin?

The funding cycle typically begins in October, depending on when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) notifies the City of its annual grant amounts.

What is the payment process through the City?

Payment requests are invoiced to the City, along with required back-up documentation. Requests are processed and approved. Once approved, they are sent for check processing. 30 days is the maximum time to receive funds after invoicing the City.

What is the relationship between HUD and the City?

HUD is the funding source for CDBG funds and provides federal oversight for compliance with federal requirements, regulations, and laws. The City is the receiver of grant funds and, as such, can carry out programs directly or can contract with one or more subrecipients (outside agencies) for programs and services.

What is the Consolidated Plan?

To receive its annual CDBG entitlement grant, the City must develop and submit to HUD its Consolidated Plan. The Consolidated Plan is a comprehensive planning document and application for funding. The programs applied for utilizing the Consolidated Plan include CDBG, ESG and the HOME program. In its Consolidated Plan, the City must identify its goals for these programs, as well as for other housing programs. These goals serve as the criteria against which HUD evaluates the City's Plan and its performance under the Plan. This Consolidated Plan must certify that not less than 70% of the CDBG funds received will be used for activities that benefit low-moderate income persons and that the City will affirmatively further fair housing.

The Consolidated Plan can be found under Reports & Publications, in the menu to the left.

How do the citizens of Allentown participate in the CDBG process?

To be eligible for this funding, the City of Allentown must develop and follow a detailed plan which provides for and encourages citizen participation, and which emphasizes participation by persons of low- or moderate-income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, slum or blighted areas, and areas in which the City proposes to use CDBG funds. To encourage participation, the City must provide citizens with reasonable and timely access to local annual meetings, information, and records related to the City's proposed and actual use of funds. The City also provides for public hearings to obtain citizen views and to respond to proposals and questions at all stages of the community development program, including at least the development of needs, the review of proposed activities, and review of program performance.