Kriseman Signs on to Mayors’ Fight to Keep Grants from Being Cut
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
The community development block grant program provides money for such items as affordable housing, anti-poverty initiatives and development of infrastructure.
ST. PETERSBURG – Mayor Rick Kriseman has signed on to a campaign by the U.S. Conference of Mayors opposing proposed cuts to a program that funds redevelopment in poor communities.
Kriseman said he added his signature to a letter from the nation’s mayors to Congress asking that monies to the community development block grant program not be cut. Kriseman, who has proposed a wide-ranging plan to help end poverty in southern St. Petersburg, said during a press conference last week that without those federal dollars, “those projects won’t happen because we won’t have the funds.”
It is unclear how many other Tampa Bay mayors have signed the letter. Elena Temple Webb, head of communications for the Mayors Conference, said signatures are still being collected.
The CDBG program, which is administered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, was begun in 1974 and is one of the agency’s longest running programs. The program provides grants to more than 1,200 state and local governments. The funds can be used for a wide range of needs that include housing, poverty and infrastructure. The program is among those on the chopping block in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget,
“CDBG makes its way into the local economy through an extensive network of local organizations and remains a lifeline for families and communities. It is one federal program that touches the lives of nearly every American in some fashion,” the letter says. “Over 7,200 communities have access to the funds and rely on the program to enhance their life and community. Every State, Territory, and Congressional District receives or has access to CDBG funds. The pressing need in the current economy for these funds remains critical.”
Among the uses of CBDG funds cited in the letter:
- “Helped over 1.3 million low- and moderate-income persons through single-family, owner-occupied rehabilitation, homeownership assistance, energy-efficient improvements, and lead-based abatement, among other activities;
- “Created or retained 387,109 jobs for low- and moderate-income people through a variety of economic development activities;
- “Benefited over 42 million low- and moderate-income persons through public improvements including senior centers, child care centers, and centers
for people with disabilities; …
- “Created Safer Communities. Local communities use CDBG to work with local police departments and neighborhood leaders to fight crime and make neighborhoods safer places to live and work by creating and expanding neighborhood watch groups, making safety improvements to homes and businesses, and encouraging local police sub-stations to move into high crime areas.”
The mayors intensified their fight against the proposed cuts Wednesday (April 19), the middle of Community Development Week, with a telephone press conference taking their fight to the people for support.
“Simply put, this proposal to eliminate CDBG funds would make our cities and communities less safe, less healthy and more expensive to live in,” said Newton, MA, Mayor Setti Warren, who Chairs the Conference’s Community Development and Housing Committee.
Piscataway, NJ, Mayor Brian Wahler, who serves on the Conference’s Advisory Board, stressed the economic impact of CDBG funds on communitiesh: “Tis program has experienced very few hiccups over the years, and is probably one of the easiest ways to make major infrastructure upgrades and create jobs.
To hear the entire press conference:
For information about the CDBG program, go to portal.hud.gov.
To read the mayors’ letter, click here.
Rick Kriseman | CDBG | U.S. Mayors Conference | Housing and Urban Development | Affordable Housing | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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