A five-year plan setting priorities for the allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant dollars was adopted by the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority last month.

The plan for the years 2020-2024 was mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, which makes an annual distribution of CDBG funds to the county. The county’s community development department created the plan after conducting a survey of stakeholders.

According to Renee Sande, community development manager, nearly 500 survey responses were received from municipalities, nonprofit organizations, employers, housing developers and residents, including those who are underserved and underrepresented.

Activities and programs funded with CDBG dollars must be a high priority and meet a HUD national objective, Sande said.

HUD requires 70% of CDBG funding benefit low- and moderate-income families, while allocations to public service programs are limited to 15% of the total amount available.

“These priorities will guide the funding for the annual application process as we work to meet the goals set by the community engagement process,” she said.

Under building projects, high priorities include homeless facilities (not operating costs), parks and recreation, youth centers, neighborhood facilities, physical or mental health centers, senior centers and facilities for people with disabilities.

Housing projects on the high priority list include single-family and multifamily residential rehabilitation and energy-efficiency improvements.

Other projects among the county’s high priorities are cleanup of contaminated sites, clearance or demolition of buildings and economic development direct financial assistance to for-profit businesses for building projects.

Public service program top priorities are listed as general family services; crime awareness/prevention; substance abuse recovery/prevention/education; youth services for teens age 13-19; senior services for those 62 and older; abused and neglected children’s programs; services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking; general health services; mental health programs; food banks; transportation; employment training; and emergency housing.

“This is an important step,” said Trustee Scott Schulte, who chairs and HRA, which comprises the members of the Anoka County Board.

A lot of the groundwork has been done with this five-year plan, he said.

The 2020 CDBG application process takes place in January with the HRA making recommendations of projects and programs to be funded at its meeting in late February following a public hearing. There is then a HUD-mandated 30-day comment period, with the County Board taking final action in April.

In 2019 the HRA received some $1.64 million in CDBG money, of which $1.07 million went to projects and about $246,000 to public service programs, both through a competitive process, with about $328,000 set aside for administration and planning.


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