To:        Board of Supervisors

From:    Ron White

CC:       Bob Tucker; Roxanne White                                      

Date:     March 10, 2006

Re:        Community Development Block Grants

At the January 11, 2006 Board meeting we presented information on the availability of Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) and types of uses for which the funds could be utilized.  If you recall, the funding must be directed to benefit low-and moderate-income households.  At the time of the presentation we anticipated submitting an application for a community improvement project for residents of Hacktown Road.  Funding would primarily be used for rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing.  Board members inquired about other possible uses including creating a facility at Southwood Mobile Home Park for children’s programs and doing housing rehabilitation in New Town.  The Board approved setting a public hearing for March 15 to review and receive comment on any proposed application(s) to be submitted for CDBG’s competitive funding.  At this time we do not plan to bring any applications forward based on the status of proposed projects and requirements of CDBG for certain activities as explained below.

Hacktown Road – This community consisting of approximately 25 homes was targeted based on housing condition information from the County Assessor’s Office and inquiries made to AHIP by residents seeking assistance.  AHIP conducted a survey of interest with the potential for 17 homeowners to participate.  A “community leader” was identified to help facilitate meetings and act as   liaison with the residents.  As plans progressed and future attempts by AHIP to hold informational meetings were less than successful, it became apparent that the proposed project would not likely be competitive at this time.  This determination was based on

·         Limited documentation of needs particularly regarding well and septic system problems.

·         A schedule for AHIP to complete work necessary for an application submittal was not adhered to.  In fact, the work schedule was over 4 months behind.

·         The community leader stating she was not interested in participating and only 8 of the original 17 potential beneficiaries wished to continue participating.  DHCD indicated that a successful community improvement activity should have at least 65% participation from the community.

I discussed the status with staff at DHCD and they suggested we could submit an application even though it did not seem to be at the level of readiness that they suggest or we could submit a request for a Planning Grant to do some community organizing, assess needs, and identify options for addressing needs, particularly those that may need some level of engineering to address (wells and septics).

Southwood Mobile Home Park – There was a suggestion for the County to consider using CDBG to develop a community center as a site for children’s programs in Southwood.  While DHCD staff indicated that they would like to work with innovative activities such as this, there are a number of issues related to requirements for such a facility.  The major issue in the case of Southwood is we would also be expected to address substandard housing conditions.  Since these a privately-owned rental units, CDBG funds could not be used for rehab.  There are also additional limitations for using CDBG funds on manufactured housing units.  The second issue is the requirement that such a facility should be owned by the County or, if privately-owned, would require a 20-year use agreement with all funding repaid if the approved use was discontinued prior to the end of the 20-year term.  This would require the owner to consent to such an agreement and provide security in the form of a deed-of-trust or bond.

New Town – Like Hacktown, AHIP has received requests for assistance in this area although assessment information does not indicate the level of poor housing conditions that exists in Hacktown.  CDBG projects are currently limited to “target communities” that can be easily defined and are reasonably compact.  As an example, the Porter’s Road project was fairly large but was also fairly dense, at least for a rural area.  The needs in New Town appear to be more scattered.  AHIP has done work in New Town and will likely continue to do so as funding allows.  This type of scattered site need is better addressed through funding other than CDBG.  AHIP has access to various resources that may be more appropriate for this area.

Planning Grants

Although we do not have a viable application to submit under the competitive application, there are several potential uses for submission of one or more planning grants.  Planning Grant applications can be submitted through August 2006 provided funding remains available.

As suggested by DHCD, a planning grant could be requested for Hacktown Road to do community organizing, complete more detailed needs assessments, and conduct any feasibility analysis necessary to address the needs.  Such analysis could include engineering studies and environmental reviews.

AHIP has indicated an interest in applying for a planning grant for Treesdale located on Rio Road.  The proposed project will consist of townhouses and multifamily rental units for families.  Activities to be conducted using planning grant funds have not been identified.

JABA is interested in pursuing a planning grant to determine the market for and feasibility of developing apartments for the elderly in Crozet.  The grant would most likely be used to determine the feasibility of adaptive reuse of the Crozet Elementary School.

The County can submit up to two applications for Planning Grants.  With the potential of having more than two requests, staff recommends advertising the availability of the grants and establishing a method of reviewing and recommending any requests.  Prior to County’s submission to DHCD, a public hearing would be conducted on the proposed applications.

I hope this status is useful in understanding some of the requirements and limitations that we face with CDBG funding. 

 

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