Rochester and Rochester Hills city councils on Monday, November 12, approved applications for 2019 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which are federal grants used to assist low and middle income residents, as well as those with qualifying disabilities.
The federal CDBG program assists with affordable housing, home repairs and other needs, as well as helping communities meet requirements of the American's with Disabilities Act. Community and charitable organizations may make direct requests to municipalities for grant funds.
For 2019, Rochester will apply for an available $25,466.
Proposed uses for the funds include about $6,000 for a home repair program in the city to service income-qualified residents; an unspecified amount to improve current playground equipment at the Municipal Park to make them more accessible; and an unspecified amount to be used for unspecified projects at the Older Person's Commission (OPC).
In addition to those projects, a representative from HAVEN, which helps abused and battered families, requested assistance from the city. HAVEN assisted about 19 Rochester residents in 2018.
Councilwoman Kim Russell questioned why exact uses and amounts weren't spelled out in the documentation provided to city council.
Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing said executive assistant Meghan Frazho worked on the application and was hoping to finish before the required application deadline. He said program changes could be made in the future that wouldn't change the amount the city would receive. Approval of CDBG plans typically occur about a year after applications are submitted.
Council unanimously approved the application.
Rochester Hills City Council on Monday, November 12, also approved its application for $156,140 in CDBG funds for 2019, the same amount it qualified for in 2018.
Denise Lator, CDBG coordinator for the city, said the city proposes using the funds exactly the same as current year. That amount includes $126,140 for minor home repairs; $10,000 for yard services and snow removal for about 60 low-income seniors or disabled adult households; $10,000 to HAVEN for Battered and Abused Spouses; and $10,000 to Neighborhood House, which provided clothing to about 300 individuals in 2018.
Rochester Hills City Council unanimously approved the application, with council president Mark Tisdel absent.