(Submitted by City of Bowling Green)
In 1986, government and community advocates initiated National Community Development Week in order to bring national attention to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. It launched at a time when the program was facing scrutiny by Congress.
National Community Development Week provides an annual opportunity for communities to promote, educate and advocate on behalf of the program. It intentionally takes place during the Congressional appropriations season.
This allows communities a concerted grassroots effort to voice the importance of the program, locally, and its impact nationwide. With continued pressures to reduce federal funding, the City of Bowling Green has joined in on this national initiative, declaring the week of April 22 through 26, 2019, as a time to recognize and celebrate the local CDBG Program’s achievements through legislation.
For more than 40 years, CDBG has provided local communities with an important source of funds to address affordable housing, community and economic development needs. Over the past five years (funding years 2014 through 2018), the City of Bowling Green has received $1,289,879 in CDBG funding. With the exception of administrative costs, the city has utilized 100 percent of these funds to improve the affordability and decency of housing, the suitability of the living environment and economic opportunities for lower income persons, locally.
During CDBG funding years 2014 through 2017, the city has improved the decency and/or affordability of housing for 69 households, improved the suitability of the living environment for 844 individuals (through reduced fare transit access and transitional housing for the homeless) and created or retained 32 jobs, locally. Over this period, administrative costs for the program averaged less than 10 percent.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the CDBG Program.
CDBG FY 2018 is underway and well on track to achieve all planned outcomes and objectives. As has been the case for many years, community needs will surpass what the city can address with the funding made available. Bowling Green’s participation in this initiative and its past accomplishments will be shared with local Congressional offices as a means of encouraging funding increases for Program Year 2020.