City council members in Rochester and Rochester Hills on Monday, November 13, approved their respective Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) plans for the 2018 program year.
The federal CDBG program provides funds to local municipalities to assist low- and moderate-income residents with affordable housing, home repairs and other needs through individual grants and other anti-poverty programs. The objective is to prevent or eliminate slums and blight, and to meet an urgent community need where no other funding is available. Community and charitable organizations may also make direct requests to municipalities for direct grants.
Debbie Hoyle, who oversees Rochester Hills' CDBG program within the city's finance division, said the city receives the funding through Oakland County's Urban County Program, which receives the city's share of funds from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
City council's action authorized the city to apply for the federal funds for the 2018 program year. The application includes a proposed plan on how the funds will be spent.
While the actual amount for 2018 has yet to be determined, the city's plan is based on allocations received in 2016, which included $121,817 for minor home repairs; $27,000 for public services, including yard services and snow removal for low-income seniors; battered and abused spouses programs; and emergency clothing services.
Kaisra Osman, a board member with Haven, asked Rochester Hills City Council members to continue its support of the program, which provides emergency shelter, legal, counseling and other services to domestic violence victims and their families. Kay Smith, who serves on the board of directors of the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, also requested continued or additional funding.
Rochester Hills councilwoman Susan Bowyer, following the requests, asked council to increase the share of public service funds directed toward battered and abused spouses programs from $7,000 to $10,000 for the 2018 program year. She proposed the additional funds be shifted from the $121,817 budgeted for Minor Home Repairs.
Rochester Hills city council members unanimously approved the amended plan.
Rochester City Council on Monday also approved that city's proposed CDBG plan and application.
Rochester city manager Blaine Wing said the city, which also receives its federal funds through Oakland County, expects to receive about $24,293 for the 2018 program year. Those funds will be used for improvements at city parks, such as updating playscapes, repairing and adding new walking paths, he said.
Rochester council members unanimously approved the plan and application.