U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) on Thursday expressed “serious” concerns over reports that the proposed federal budget would eliminate all funding to the community development block grant program (CDBG).
The CDBG program is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration wants to cut more than $6 billion in funding from HUD and eliminate community-development grants. CNBC posted a similar report on its website.
The proposed elimination would put “countless” community development and infrastructure projects at risk in Syracuse and across Central New York, Schumer said in a news release his office issued Thursday.
Schumer “promised to fight” to protect the CDBG program, which is currently scheduled to receive $3 billion from HUD, his office said.
“Decimating CDBG would be incredibly damaging to Syracuse because it is a non-replaceable stream of investment in essential services for area residents and economic-development projects,” Schumer said in the news release. “That is why I would fight these drastic cuts tooth and nail to make sure the CDBG program remains fully funded and that Syracuse gets the money it deserves. More than ever, we need to make sure our local governments and communities have the resources they need to modernize their infrastructure, deliver vital services to working families and seniors and continue the neighborhood revitalization efforts critical to local economic development.”
The federal government has awarded the City of Syracuse “millions” in CDBG funds, including more than $4.4 million in fiscal year 2016, Schumer said.
Nearly two dozen community organizations receive funding as part of Syracuse’s CDBG allocation.
The organizations use the funding for services that include “encouraging” home ownership; tenant counseling; workforce development; and youth education.
With the assistance of CDBG funds, the City of Syracuse assisted nearly 3,600 households through community development and affordable-housing programs between 2014 and 2015, Schumer’s office said.
The Democrat contends that if the federal budget eliminates CDBG nationwide, the cut “could harm the localities like Syracuse” that depend on the funding for projects.
About CDBG funds
CDBG funds are distributed across the U.S., where they are then dispersed to localities to fund development projects, Schumer explained in the news release.
The CDBG program provides communities with resources to address a range of community-development needs, his office said in citing HUD.
The CDBG program funds affordable-housing projects; provides services to the “most vulnerable” members of communities; and creates jobs through the “expansion and retention” of businesses, according to HUD’s website.
Schumer said these grants are “critical” to cities like Syracuse because they are capable of funding the kinds of business development, housing, and revitalization projects that that are “essential to the success” of the affected local economies.
Eliminating the program will not only affect Syracuse but municipalities across the state that will have to end neighborhood housing rehabilitation and development projects, Schumer contends.
The number of communities eligible for CDBG funds has “more than doubled” in recent years, Schumer said.
HUD determines the amount of grants by using a formula involving “several measures” of community need, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas, according to the agency’s website.
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