Efforts Underway To Maintain CDBG, HOME Funding
By Eugene T. Lowe
The Clinton Administration and national organizations representing appointed and elected local officials are lobbying both the House and Senate to assure that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs maintain funding levels of at least $4.6 billion and $1.4 billion respectively in FY98.
On April 30, Walter Webdale, Director of Housing and Community Development of Fairfax County (VA) testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies on behalf of The U.S. Conference of Mayors and several other national organizations representing local officials. Webdale called for $4.6 billion for CDBG and $1.5 billion for HOME in FY98. During his testimony Webdale emphasized that HUD's FY98 budget request called for CDBG set-asides totaling $290 million. He told the subcommittee that fewer communities benefit from set-asides, and he urged Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis (CA) to fund CDBG at $4.6 billion in formula funding to entitlement communities.
On May 13, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies, said HUD is asking for stable funding for CDBG at $4.6 billion and $1.3 billion in Section 108 loan guarantee authority.
During May, a coalition of national organizations, including the Conference of Mayors, asked individual members of each organization to sign on to a letter requesting the funding levels for CDBG and HOME that were put before Chairman Jerry Lewis by Walter Webdale on April 30.
The letter, which more than 200 mayors signed, made the case that it was critical that Congress fund HOME and CDBG with the full impact of welfare reform still undetermined. The letter stated: "Recent studies have shown that 5.3 million Americans pay more than 50 percent of their income for rent or live in substandard or overcrowded housing units. This housing crisis, when coupled with the possible loss of income to families as a result of the implementation of welfare reform, presents a compelling case for sufficient funding of these programs that support job training and creation, affordable housing production, child care and family support services and other tools for community revitalization and individual self support."
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