CDBG/HOME Catalyzes Future Community Projects
COVINGTON - After a year-long cycle of citizen feedback and input, the proposed HUD expenditure for Covington is set to focus on improving green space, neighborhood revitalization and supporting economic development opportunities, in addition to public improvements, residential programs and public service. These are just a few of the categories where the City’s allocated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME funds are likely to be spent in fiscal year 2014-2015 as a means to help bring projects to fruition, attract additional funding to catalyze further investment in the community from both existing and potential stakeholders.
Covington is a lead entity for the NKY HOME Consortium for HUD, which means the City also administers HOME funds for affordable housing that are allocated to neighboring cities including Ludlow, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton.
For both Covington and the other HUD funded areas, Covington’s Programs and Strategic Projects division hosted a series of public input forums throughout 2013-2014 where citizen feedback was gathered, considered and ultimately used to determine expenditure and priority project recommendations.
The federal CDBG and HOME programs typically concentrate funding on projects that focus on public infrastructure and residential property; however, regulations for CDBG allow more creative use of the funding dependent on local decision making, public input and community need.
For Covington, this flexibility has helped to address unique needs expressed by the public that are unique to the City. For 2014/2015, public feedback supported recommendations that include suggested funding allocation of $50,000 towards a community effort to improve the amenities in Mainstrasse’s Goebel Park, and a playground improvement project for Latonia Elementary school, spearheaded by the community to provide recreational opportunities for area children. The community has already raised $60k funds through other sources for the playground and the City is contributing $20,000 to help make the project possible.
Another interest that the public expressed through the feedback cycle included access to homeowner repair incentives. This need was also identified last year through the same engagement process, and as a result, the City created a Code Enforcement Hardship Program that provided grants to homeowners who were cited with code violations but could not afford to address the problem. The new Homeowner Repair Program will focus on providing grants for emergency repairs such as furnace replacement and plumbing issues like sewer lateral collapse.
More money has also been allocated to the Homebuyer Assistance Program due to an increase in interest in purchasing houses in Covington. Last year the program allocated $148,162 and this year the program will receive $205,533.
Access the Annual Action Plan Summary here to see the full list of recommended expenditure.
Access the PY 2014-15 Annual Action Plan DRAFT for Covington/NKY HOME Consortium here.
In addition to tangible benefits such as grants, CDBG and HOME funds also provide additional benefits to the community. Allocated funds contribute towards leveraging other funds and the intent is for the City’s money to catalyze other investors and contributors to make large scale projects a reality that otherwise would not occur.
photo credit: Pulpolux