Goal of CDBG/HOME? Help people

Covington annually uses its federal funds for things like emergency home repairs (such as furnace replacement) for income-eligible families and for improvements to parks and playgrounds.

Public hearing asks how to spend federal grants

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington will hold a public hearing next week to ask residents how it should spend a few million dollars it expects to get from the federal government this year.

To encourage public participation, the hearing will be held after hours (beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15) at a convenient location (the Hellman Creative Center, 321 West 12th St./M.L. King Jr. Boulevard) with lots of parking nearby.

The money must be spent on things like programs to make housing more affordable and public infrastructure, such as parks and streets.

“This a great way for residents to give their suggestions directly to staff about what they think the community’s needs are,” said Jeremy Wallace, the City’s Federal Grants Manager. “And those suggestions are taken into account. In past years, the public’s input has led to specific projects being implemented, like the new dog park in MainStrasse Village and improvements to a homebuyer forgivable loan program.”

As an additional way to get public feedback, the City has created an on-line survey.

The grants consist of the City’s annual allocation from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs. The collective value of the allocations hasn’t been determined yet but is expected to be about $3.5 million. About the programs:

Housing, infrastructure

The Community Development Block Grant program is earmarked for a wide variety of services and programs – primarily in low- and moderate-income areas – such as street and streetscape infrastructure, park improvements, crime prevention, code enforcement, economic development, literacy, and housing rehab.

The HOME program typically helps create affordable housing through programs like down payment assistance for new homebuyers and incentives to help create new homeownership opportunities. For the HOME program, Covington is part of a regional consortium that includes Bellevue, Dayton, Erlanger, Florence, Independence, Ludlow, and Newport.

The final decisions on spending are compiled into an Annual Action Plan. For context, the current 2023-2024 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN details how the City is spending current funding on things like park improvements, street resurfacing, storm water and erosion control projects, literacy and fire safety education programs, and emergency home repairs for homeowners.

What’s next?

Once the City creates a draft plan for how the grant funds will be spent, the public will be given an opportunity to weigh in during a comment period. The plan must be approved by the Covington Board of Commissioners before it is submitted to HUD for approval.

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