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  • By Lisa Brody

Home repair services authorized for 2020 grant

The Birmingham City Commission unanimously approved authorizing the allocation of 2020 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, in the amount of $36,090, on Monday, November 25. Birmingham Finance Director Mark Gerber explained the city receives the funds from Oakland County, the state of Michigan and from the federal level, of which 30 percent is capped for public services. He recommended that the maximum amount of public services funding of $10,827 be allocated as follows: senior services $3,500 and yard services $7,327 as has been historically done. In addition, staff recommends the remaining funding of $25,263 be allocated to minor home repair as staff does not have any ADA projects under consideration at this time. Commissioners concurred, with allocations for the 2020 program year, $7,327 will go to public services, yard services; $3,500 will go to senior services; and $25,263 will be allocated to minor home repair. The CDBG program will begin July 2020. Cara Lynch, a therapist with Haven, which helps domestic and sexual assault victims and their families, requested about $3,500 of the CDBG money. Commissioner Rackeline Hoff asked what the amount the city has previously contributed to Haven. Gerber said in the past the city has not given them any CDBG dollars, but has provided a separate contribution of about $2,000. “Although I absolutely support the work of Haven, if we give them $3,500, we are taking it away from NEXT,” Hoff said. “I support continuing doing it the way we have, where charities can come to us and ask for allocations. The CDBG money goes much further with NEXT.” Commissioners concurred. Gerber then requested commissioner consider reallocating $2,335 leftover from 2018's CDBG funding to minor home repairs, which the commissioners unanimous supported. The federal CDBG program provides funds to local municipalities dedicated 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 the cities for direct grants. Federal regulations require communities to hold public hearings and pass a resolution approving the planned use of funds as part of the application process.

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