Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
What is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)?
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that provides flexible funding for the purposes of carrying out a wide range of community development and affordable housing activities. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) can be awarded to states, cities, and counties.
Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) is designated as an Entitlement Community. This means that ACC Gov can receive grant funds directly from HUD, and are able to develop its own programs and funding priorities in relation to the goals provided by HUD. To be an entitlement community, the entity must fall within one of the three designated groups. Those groups include the following:
- Metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000 people;
- Principal cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs);
- Or Urban counties with populations of at least 200,000 people (excluding the population of entitled cities).
ACC Gov is referred to as the Grantee, meaning ACCGov is the entity that receives a CDBG grant and administers the funding to Subrecipients. Subrecipients are a public or private nonprofit agency that receives CDBG grant funds from the grantee to undertake activities eligible under the CDBG program.
How are CDBG funds awarded to Grantees?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County (ACCGov) with an annual award of CDBG grant funds. The amount of the CDBG grant funds can changer year-to-year, and are influenced by population data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and metropolitan area delineations published by the Office of Management and Budget.
HUD determines the amount of grant funds that ACCGov receives, and they do so by using a statutory dual formula that uses objective measures of community needs.
Some of the measures used include the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relation to other metropolitan areas.
Who can apply to become a Subrecipient of CDBG funds?
The following are eligible to apply for CDBG grant funds with Athens-Clarke County:
- A public or private nonprofit agency, authority, or organization.
- A for-profit entity authorized under 24 CFR 570.201(o) to provide microenterprise assistance, receiving CDBG funds from the grantee to undertake activities eligible under the CDBG program.
What activities are supported with CDBG funding?
All CDBG projects and activities must meet one of the following three national objectives:
- Serve low-and-moderate-income persons.
- Aid in prevention or elimination of slum and blight.
- Address a recent and urgent health and safety need.
1. Benefit to Low-and Moderate-Income Persons
All CDBG activities under this objective must fall in one of the following categories:
- Area benefit activities (i.e. street improvements, neighborhood facilities, etc.)
- Limited Clientele Activities (i.e. construction of a senior center, public services for the homeless, etc.)
- Housing Activities
- Job Creation or Retention Activities.
2. Elimination of Slum and Blight
ACCGov does not approve Slum and Blight proposals because they are not in line with the Consolidated Plan.
All CDBG activities under this objective must meet the criteria of one of the following categories:
- Prevent or eliminate slum and blight on an area basis. (i.e. assistance to commercial or industrial businesses)
- Prevent or eliminate slum and blight on a spot basis. These activities are designed to eliminate specific conditions of blight or physical decay on a spot basis that's not located in a slum or blighted area. (i.e. elimination of faulty wiring, historic preservation of a facility, etc.)
3. Urgent Need
ACCGov does not meet the criteria to use Urgent Need.
This category is designed for activities that alleviate emergency conditions. The use of this category is rare and requires special circumstances.
(i.e. a coastal city struck by a hurricane does not have any other resources to demolish severely damaged structures that pose a danger to occupants of neighboring structures)
Approved CDBG Activities
CDBG activities for ACCGov must align with the ACCGov Housing and Community Development's Consolidated Plan and HUD's National Objectives. For approved activities in Athens-Clarke County, see below.
Approved CDBG activities for Affordable Housing in Athens-Clarke County include the following:
- Acquiring, clearing, or rehabilitating sites or structures for resale for new housing.
- Converting existing nonresidential structures for residential use.
- Demolition of vacant, deteriorated housing units for new housing construction.
- Financing or subsidizing the construction of new permanent, residential units (by nonprofit organizations).
- Increasing the energy efficiency of housing units through weatherization.
- Rehabilitating or repairing substandard housing.
- Site improvements or public facilities to publicly-owned land or land owned by a nonprofit organization to be used or sold for new housing.
- Home buyer assistance for low and moderate income households.
- Historic preservation.
- Construct accessibility enhancements, including the removal of material and architectural barriers that restrict the mobility and accessibility of elderly or severely disabled persons.
Approved CDBG Activities for Economic Development in Athens-Clarke County include the following:
- Pre-development planning studies.
- Job Training.
- Micro and small business technical assistance programs.
- Business technical assistance
- Infrastructure and public facilities projects in support of economic development.
- Direct business assistance for purchase of equipment; real estate; construction.
- Public or social services related to economic development in partnership with a HUD approved Community-Based Corporation and Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy.
Approved CDBG Activities for Public Services in Athens-Clarke County include the following:
CDBG funds may be used to pay for staffing for carrying out the activity, supplies, and materials to operate and/or maintain the portion of a facility in which the public service is located. This includes the lease of a facility, equipment, and other property needed for the public service. See the following categories:
Approved CDBG Activities for Public Facilities in Athens-Clarke County include the following:
- Infrastructure Improvements
- Neighborhood Facilities
- Facilities for persons with special needs
- Energy Efficiency Improvements
- Handicap Accessibility Improvements
- Architectural Accessibility Improvements
- Architectural design features and other treatments aimed at improving safety, function, and aesthetic quality.
See the full scope of approved CDBG activities in 24 CFR Part 570 (C).
How does a Subrecipient obtain CDBG funding?
All CDBG applications are accepted annually and are awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants are required to submit the Notice of Intent (NOI) form by October 00, 2023, no later than 4:30 PM. Applicants have approximately 30 days from the date the application is available to the deadline for submission. HCD staff will contact you to set up an online meeting or call to discuss your application.
Evaluation and Rating Process
All applications are evaluated in a three-step process.
- Threshold Review: Staff will ensure that the application meets a national objective as required by HUD and include proposed eligible activities. Staff will also check to make sure that all required attachments are provided. If both requirements are met, applicant will proceed to the next step.
- Project Evaluation: HCD staff and the appointed Vision Committee will evaluate and rate the applications. All rating criteria will be provided with the application. For more information on the Vision Committee, check out their page on ACCGov's website.
- Funding Recommendations: After evaluating and rating all applications and receiving recommendations from the Vision Committee, HCD will present the recommendations to the ACCGov May and Commissioners for final approval.