Kendra Jensen is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration. She is currently working with the Kerr-Tar Council of Governments through the Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps (CERC)
The North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance is currently accepting applications for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Recovery Program. Economic Recovery grants will be made to the 31 communities who submitted applications in June 2009 for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act CDBG funding, but were not funded in the competitive process. The North Carolina CDBG Economic Recovery Program provides grants for projects that enhance the viability of communities through decent housing and suitable living environments and expansion of economic opportunities for persons of low and moderate income.
Eligible governments are categorized into three project areas: infrastructure, housing or special projects. The three categories are similar to those chosen in the June 2009 CDBG Recovery application. Project funding in the infrastructure category may include water, sewer, streets, curb, gutter, drainage and sidewalks. The housing category may fund rehabilitation, acquisition, clearance, relocation, substantial rehab, replacement housing and emergency repair projects. Recipients may choose scattered site housing, grouped houses or a combination of both, allowing flexibility on the recipient’s part.
The special projects category includes public facilities and foreclosure prevention. Public facilities are buildings that are publicly owned or are traditionally provided by the government or a non-profit organization, but not used to conduct general government operations. Examples include homeless and domestic violence shelters, transitional housing and senior or community recreation centers. Foreclosure prevention provides qualifying families working with a HUD counseling agency, up to $3,000 or up to three months of mortgage payment assistance.
Each project type must meet various job creation and retention thresholds and serve given percentages of low and moderate income clients. Eligible governments primarily qualify for the housing category, followed by special projects and infrastructure. Although governments are limited to the category in which the original application was intended, a considerable amount of flexibility exists within project categories. The Economic Recovery grant funding could assist many communities in funding priority projects that have been delayed due to economic downturn.