Grant Obligations Provide Insight Into Communities’ Housing Assets and Impediments

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CED Program Interns & Students

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’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program requires grantees to conduct or update their Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing as part of the grant obligations. Grantees with a population of 10,000 or more must perform or update their AI every five years. Similar to entitlement governments that report directly to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), grantees must conduct an analysis of impediments to fair housing, take appropriate actions to overcome impediments and maintain records of the analysis and actions. The requirements are targeted at fulfilling HUD’s fair housing objectives and eliminating discriminatory practices in housing.

As part of the analysis, grantees conduct a review and analysis of both the private and public sectors. The AI report includes jurisdictional data, an evaluation of the jurisdictions’ fair housing legal status, identification of impediments to fair housing choice and an assessment of current public and private fair housing programs and activities. The report concludes with a summary of impediments and recommendations for future action. Many of the recommendations can be incorporated into the grantee’s Fair Housing Plan, another obligation of CDBG grantees.

Both HUD and the NC Department of Commerce offer guidance and tips for conducting a thorough review of both the private and public sectors. Differences in community, economic, financial and demographic characteristics among jurisdictions are all accounted for, allowing for flexibility in the analysis and a well-tailored end product. The process of conducting the analysis allows counties to identify their own impediments to fair housing and create a plan unique to the needs and assets of that community. The flexibility granted during the process and the opportunity to identify unique community assets and needs provides grantees with a useful document, which can be used as a guide for all of those involved in housing.

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